St. Charles Herald-Guide

Moneytalk

By Al Suffrin - December 27, 2006

Dear Mr. Suffrin: I am an 18-year-old Hahnville High School student, and after I graduate I would like to go to college to become a certified public accountant.

I have always had an interest in money and my parents have taught me that it is important to be responsible with finances. What is the best educational path for me to become a CPA? - Money in Ama

Dear Money in Ama: I, of course, applaud you for your interest in becoming a CPA. There has never been a more exciting time to enter the CPA profession.
In addition to the traditional areas of accounting, auditing and tax services, the profession has evolved in such a way that CPAs are also focusing on non-traditional services like computer consulting, investrment advisory and litigation support.

As a CPA, you would also have the option of working in public practice, serving a variety of clients on a regular basis, or working in business, industry, government, or education.

At any rate, a background in accounting and as a CPA is an excellent route to take even if you do not spend your entire career working as a CPA because accounting is the foundation for all business.

Many chief executive officers now for Fortune 500 companies have accounting backgrounds.

The State Board of CPAs of Louisiana establishes the educational requirements to sit for the CPA exam.

You may have an undergraduate degree in something other than accounting, however, the state board requires specific accounting and business law courses.

Also, bear in mind that to sit for the CPA exam, there is a requirement in Louisiana that you have 150 hours of higher education which usually translates to a fifth year of college.

Therefore, please be prepared to invest an additional year in higher education.

Paid internship opportunities, however, are plentiful during that time and will help to offset the additional higher education expenses.

There are several colleges and universities in Louisiana with outstanding accounting programs.

Upon meeting the educational requirements and passing the CPA exam, job prospects are extremely attractive.

Job opportunities are abundant and starting pay is at an all-time high.

Students' questions about finances answered - only in the St. Charles Herald-Guide. Financial expert and school board member-elect Al Suffrin, a certified public accountant, takes on the tough questions from parish kids- and their parents - in an important weekly column everyone should read. Send YOUR questions to: editor@heraldguide.com or write: MONEYTALK, P.O. Box 1199, Boutte, LA