If you have just acquired your undergraduate degree in accounting, you may wonder if it is necessary to go the extra mile and complete your CPA (Certified Public Accountant) examination. Earning your CPA credentials is costly in both time and money, and the exam can be difficult, so you may be asking yourself: Why should I become a CPA? Here we are going to explore 7 good reasons for why we think it is worth becoming a CPA.

1. Prestige

The CPA is a credential, like ‘Professor’ or a ‘Doctor’. It indicates that you possess a specialized skillset, have internalized a great deal of information and know how to apply it. Therefore, these three letters after your name indicate to potential employees and clients that you are among the most trustworthy accountants in the business. For this reason, the CPA credential can make possible a host of opportunities for you as a young professional that might not have been available to you otherwise.

2. Competitive Edge

Ultimately, the CPA credential proves to prospective employers that you have the most up-to-date skills and knowledge. Employers know how much time and effort you will have invested to earn your CPA. Accordingly, it is viewed as very prestigious by the business community. Additionally, it will also open up branches of public accountancy that are only available to CPAs, such as representing a client for taxation before the IRS. This will give you a competitive edge over accountants without a CPA and distinguish you from other candidates when you are applying for a job. In fact, some employers may not even consider applicants who do not have a CPA or will hire them on the understanding that they are planning on acquiring it soon.

3. Job Flexibility

Having a CPA invites interesting and diverse opportunities in both the public and private sectors, even outside of traditional financial institutions. As well as the ability to work in both public and private accounting sectors, it also opens doors to careers such as college teaching, financial planning, banking, or running a nonprofit. Recruiters also take notice of job seekers who have this certification tacked onto their LinkedIn profiles or resumes, which is especially useful since many CPAs choose to change companies within 2-3 years of starting out, once they have acquired experience in a Big 4 or similar company. Therefore, getting your CPA can help to expand your outlook – there may be more than just accounting on the horizon!

With a CPA, you stand yourself in good stead to advance in your career. You are much more likely to be considered for exciting promotions and could find yourself moving up the ranks to accounting supervisor, CFO, or CEO.

Read more: What Jobs Can You Get with a CPA?

4. Higher Pay

CPA credentials automatically put you in good stead to earn a much higher salary during your career. The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) reports that accountants with a CPA earn a salary 10-15% higher than those without a CPA.

On one hand, this has to do with the fact that promotions are likely to come your way. In fact, for most senior positions, the CPA is among the minimum requirements.

On the other hand, CPA’s tend to earn more than non-CPA accountants in their own right. In fact, some companies even offer their employees a hefty bonus if they complete their CPA and even pay the costs towards it. This includes study resources such as Wiley or Becker.

If you have any doubt about whether it is worth it to get a CPA, think about weighing the cost against potential salary increases. Yes, getting your CPA involves the extra costs of tuition, time and administration fees. But in the long run, your CPA credential will pay for itself.

5. More Freedom

Another reason why you should become a CPA is for wide global recognition. Having a CPA can make it possible for you to work internationally if you feel like a change of scenery. You could also move states, provided that you meet their reciprocity requirements. If you find that you don’t want to stay in the corporate world, or if you would rather work for yourself than somebody else, a CPA gives you the freedom to go solo by starting your own public accountancy firm.

6. Job Security

CPAs also benefit from greater job security than other accountants. This holds true regardless of the state of the economy. After all, accounting is essential to all businesses, and CPAs are in especially high demand thanks to their skills, dedication and broad knowledge. There are usually over 60,000 CPA accounting jobs listed on Indeed.com each month, although there are obviously more listings in some states than others.

7. Confidence

Finally, getting your CPA will give you a sense of personal fulfillment and professional achievement. Never underestimate the power of a little extra confidence!

Passing the exam and jumping through the hoops needed to get your CPA is a really impressive feat. It is a demonstration of your expertise that will be taken seriously by your peers and colleagues. This can be incredibly rewarding!

Most importantly, the journey to get your CPA is designed to sharpen your mental toolbox of accounting knowledge. The qualification will help you to build immeasurably useful skills, a critical business mindset, and an analytical edge.