How to Be an Elite CPA


Becoming a CPA is a vital milestone for accountants. The CPA credential shows you have an in-depth knowledge of tax accounting, tax laws, and regulations. Being a CPA also opens doors to many well-paid and challenging jobs and management positions. 

Companies know that CPAs have met stringent testing, education, and on-the-job requirements. However, when a company hires a CPA for an upper-level position, they want candidates with the best skills. If you want to be an elite CPA who scores the best jobs, arm yourself with the skills below: 

The Latest Tax Knowledge

The best CPAs stay up-to-date with the newest tax laws and mandates, which change all the time. To serve their clients in the best possible way, everyone from tax accountants to financial planners to payroll administrators should take continuing education courses in state and federal taxation. 

A Nose For Business

The further a CPA advances in a company, the more they will need to advise top managers and executives. They also will need to assemble company-wide financial reports and offer big-picture tax and finance perspectives. Having strong business acumen is a skill an elite CPA must have. 

How do you develop business acumen? For starters, understand your company’s departments and how they operate and interact. Know the products and services your company offers, as well as what the marketing team does. The more you know about the company outside the accounting department, the more elite you will be. 

Great Presentation Skills

The elite CPA must know how to present complex financial and tax information concisely and compellingly. The key to presenting well is not being skilled at reading a Powerpoint presentation. It persuades your audience and relates to them by telling stories, making strong analogies, and speaking naturally. These skills are even more critical for the elite CPA if you need to speak to an audience on video conferencing. 

Technical Chops

An elite EPA has mastered their firm’s systems and software. Developing advanced software skills in Excel is vital. Other critical IT knowledge to have is Quickbooks, SQL, and enterprise resource planning systems. 

It is also becoming more critical for tax professionals to stay ahead of technological innovations in their company. Accounting automation and other cutting-edge tech trends are changing how finance and accounting work. To make your CPA career future-proof, learn about machine learning, advanced analytics, and robotic process automation. 

Emotional Intellect

The ability to relate and engage well with other people is called emotional intelligence. Being emotionally intelligent can make you an elite CPA. A recent Robert Half report stressed that social skills such as empathy are vital skills that business leaders need on the job. 

Audit Training

Most CPAs are skilled in auditing because it is one of the sections on the CPA examination. However, accountants who want to help businesses evaluate performance and methods may consider additional audit training. 

A career in internal audits can be personally and financially rewarding. It is a respected profession that has changed in the last several years. Businesses in all industries look to internal auditors to boost efficiency, lower risk, and evaluate internet technology systems and business processes. 

Leadership and Management Skills

If you want your elite CPA career to land you in the executive suite, you want to develop leadership experience. One way to become a better leader is to ask for assignments that put you at the head of teams or projects. Also, scan for leadership roles outside your company. 

Also, consider getting an MBA or a Chartered Global Management Accountant designation. These can bolster your CPA designation and prepare you for a business leadership role.