I may have stumbled into a CPA CFA Combo...

Heres the deal, my bosses are all CPAs. It occured to me I could, I could just knock out the CPA exam (for the hell of it) and get signed off on by my boss. I figure it would be a good hedge if I end up back in Corp Finance post MBA, and may even help me break into financial services. I’m working a pretty boring entry level corporate finance gig, nothing really exciting. My plan is too knock out a few levels of CFA, get my two years of experience, kill the GMAT, go to a top 50 B-School and them make the transition into a forward looking analysis position in financial services, where I can use my finance skills to be a profit center, instead of overhead. Truthfully, I really don’t have a desire to do be an accountant, but the skills are relevant and the opportunity is presenting itself. I’m looking for opinions? Any CPAs care to share their experiences?

I am also trying to achieve the CPA/CFA combo. I will start taking the CPA perhaps either the last quarter of this year or next year.

Check your state’s requirements (each state has different requirements.) Do you have the required education credits to sit for the exams? Will your experience working under those CPAs in your role be sufficient for CPA licensure? Many states require auditing experience and at least 150 credits w/ a certain amount in accounting. These exams aren’t as easy as doing just for the hell of it, but each one is about on par with CFA Level 1.

vermont or deleware have super-relaxed CPA requirements. However, there is a course set that you have to take. I plan on just passing the exams and not seek licensure.

Hey guys im a CFA/CPA combo as well. I graduated in May with the MACCT and just need the experience and pass the exams. I passed L1 in December and will take L2 in May then I may start on some easy sections of CPA during the year then take L3 then finish up the remaining parts. I have been weighing whether I should try to get the experience and actually get the CPA license, or simply take and pass the exams. I think most acct firms realize what you are up to and don’t like to hire because they know you will be out asap. I’m interested in hearing some more of all your thoughts. Sternwolf - what are your thoughts on just taking the exam? For me, I think it is good stuff to know, and it is more of a personal challenge and I think its a good thing to be able to tell people in a social setting and maybe something to brag about a little that you were good enough to pass it, but I don’t plan on it being that useful professionaly.

My question for you guys is WHY? Intermediate level of accounting is more than sufficient for the analysts role. I can understand if an accountant with a CPA already wants to jump ship to a new profession, in that case, I can understand the need to do combo.

NegativeFCF, As I said in my post, it is more of a personal accomplishment, to be completed on personal time. You remember Meet the Parents, where Gay Focker was accepted to become a doctor but became a nurse instead? It turns out, not everyone knows what the CFA is still, and my family still tells me, “You should still get the CPA as well”, not really knowing what it is all about, so it is always nice to be able to speak of the credentials from both sides of the fence. “Well I passed the CPA, it was very easy compared to the CFA” Its not for everyone, so if you are a PM the CPA is useless, but if there is more interaction with moms and pops, the CPA helps out there.

If its a personal accomplishment, then by all means go for it.

I have my CPA and am working on the CFA. I do not have much accounting experience, although I passed my state’s requirements, so I guess I am one of those who more or less did it for the credential, mainly to differentiate myself. Most people, especially outside of finance, do give strong credibility for people that have the CPA. The time spent studying for the CPA to impress these people is wasted, however, unless those individuals will become your client - then who cares if it impresses them or not. To other people in finance, the CPA is more of a feather in the cap, nice to have but by no means a requirement. I will say that knocking the exams and experience out in a year is nice (& easier).

mto1985 Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > It turns out, not everyone knows what the CFA is > still, and my family still tells me, “You should > still get the CPA as well”, not really knowing > what it is all about, so it is always nice to be > able to speak of the credentials from both sides > of the fence. > not sure if i agree with this logic. just cause ‘people’ don’t know what the CFA is does not mean you should go get your CPA.

I’m doing it as a way to differentiate myself. To show that I am very proficient at academic accounting and have knowledge of taxation and audit as well…and the other side of the fence. An overwhelming proportion of the test is very relevant to an equity analyst job and offers a different prospective. I’ve done my diligence on this one long ago, and have concluded that the CPA/CFA is looked on as very favorable and is an edge as far as education goes.

I am trying the combo as well, but from a different angle than a lot here…I am a CPA already and have passed level 1 CFA. I dont have much to add except that I think if you want a true finance gig outside of corp finance, I dont know if CPA is worth the time and CFA will suffice…but if you want Corp Finance, to be honest CPA helps, but at the better levels, like most places, it is all about experience.

I have a question about the requirements. I need 15 more credits to get the 150 education requirement as well as the 21 hours of accounting. Will I be able to take the 15 hours in one of those online universities? Like phoenix or whatever?

a few thoughts: becoming a cpa b/c you think people, like your family, will be impressed is not a wise use of time. if you want to work with, say, equities, spend that time understanding equities, the market, and what makes those equities go up or down in value. in other words, work on the skill your future employer will value the most. life is way too short to spend hours studying b/c you think someone else might like it. spend that time with family, friends, girls/guys, personal hobbies, the food bank/soup kitchen/habitat for humanity, reading good books, art museum, walking in the woods, etc. trying to pass the cpa exams and not getting the license is wasting your time. people aren’t near as impressed with the ability to pass a test, even if you are very busy at the time, as they are with your ability to make money for them. they want knowledge and experience, not just knowledge, especially not just book knowledge. with respect to actually becoming a cpa (experience, testing, etc), a good answer is always looking at your state’s requirements, like someone already said. if you’re working in accounting or some capacity like that, i’d get my cpa. when you’re interviewing they’ll likely ask you whether you got it and wonder why not if the answer is no. i personally would never take the cpa or cfa exams for anything remotely close to a personal challenge/accomplishment. life is too short; see above. each cpa exam is not on par with cfa lvl 1. i passed them back in the day when you take them all at the same time. i’m not the smartest tool in the shed so i studied four months to pass all four of those things. i also spent about 2.5 mos studying for just cfa lvl 1. i then spent 4.5 mos studyig for eeach of lvls 2 and 3. i needed a few extra hours to take the cpa exam and i was able to take becker for credit through devry. i think i paid $800 or so per part, so about $2400 for, i think, 12 or so hours of credit and i also studied for the exam itself, killing two birds. b/c i had to attend the classes to get credit, i was very motivated to study.

kant, Most likely not, the courses have to be Accredited by the AACSB? It may not be the AACSB but there is a specific accreditation universities must have. Your state should have a website for the CPA requirements and they should discuss the accreditation.

My logic was basic. I may not successfully make the transition from corporate finance to financial services. In corporate finance the CPA carries more weight than CFA. Also, to compete for senior exectuive level finance postions a CPA seems to be the must have credential. In conclusion the CPA is merely a hedge against failure considering nobody will give me a shot when I try to transition into a capital markets job. At least I will be able to compete for less appealing senior level corp fin jobs.

Hey Gouman, I remember you had told us that you landed a gig for a movie production company in their treasury department. Hows that going up to now?

It was not treasury, it was budget analysis. I quit there after three months, the culture was too “Hollywood” for me. I’ve never met so many literally below average people (with respect to intellect) in my life. You would not believe some of the crap people were expected to take. It made Liars Poker seem like a cake walk. I’m working for a another production company, but this one focuses on visual effects and animation i.e. CGI. It’s much smaller and their are less egos since I’m furthur away from the head film makers.

That sucks. I actually that it would of been pretty cool to work for a movie prod. company. So you’re happy where you are now?

It’s okay. I would rather be working in research covering the company I work for. Were going public soon, thats interesting. On a day to day basis the job is pretty boring.