A rewarding career as a CPA awaits. MACPA can help you get there.




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*Dual membership with the Maryland Association of CPAs and the AICPA connects you with the two essential organizations established to support you on your journey to becoming a successful CPA — from college, to the CPA Exam, and beyond.


  • 1

    Exclusive access to people & resources of our profession
  • 2

    Subscription to membership publications
  • 3

    Proof that you are serious about your professional direction.
  • 4

    Participation in professional advocacy
  • 5

    Access to professional learning opportunities

The Guide to Becoming a CPA

Congratulations! You are on your way to becoming an esteemed professional and one of the pillars of our economy: a certified public accountant. Here’s everything you need to know to get there.

  • State Licensure ChecklistHow to Apply for Licensure

  • CPA Exam ChecklistHow to Apply for Exam

Orientation to the Profession Webcast Replay

Join MACPA CEO and 2nd Most Influential Person in Accounting, Tom Hood, and MACPA Membership Manager, Rebekah Brown as they tackle the most frequently asked questions about the CPA Profession. Watch the replay of last Spring’s Orientation to the Profession via Facebook Live.


Not all accountants are CPAs! While most people use the terms accountant and CPA interchangeably, there’s a big difference. The CPA credential carries enormous weight in business and financial circles. Achieving CPA status takes intelligence, ethics, integrity, and lifelong commitment. That means tough business courses at your college or university, a year of real-world experience, and finally, a test of business, auditing, and general accounting skills. CPAs also are required to follow a strict code of ethics as well as perform within the high standards of the profession. Every two years, Maryland licensees must complete 80 hours of continuing professional education to keep up with the new rules and regulations in the financial, accounting, and business world.

For undergraduate accounting students who want to accelerate their success stepping into the CPA profession.

A Career Path Without Boundaries The opportunities for CPAs are vast.

In public practice, you would provide professional services, from tax and financial planning to business consulting and strategic planning, to individuals and business. You can work on your own as a sole practitioner or as a member of a public accounting firm. The CPA works for clients as an objective third party or as an adviser.
There are close to 50,000 public accounting firms in the United States ranging from small, local accounting practices to large international firms. Each firm provides its own unique mix of services and clients, which provides varying growth opportunities. Titles in public practice include staff accountant, in-charge accountant, manager, and partner, to name a few.

As a public accountant you would provide services in areas such as:

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires every publicly-held company to issue an annual financial statement and the CPA is there to assist. CPAs examine clients’ financial statements to assure stockholders and other financial stakeholders that the company’s financial situation is reported correctly and fairly. The CPA offers advice to the companies on their internal finances , as well as prepares reports for the SEC. Many privately held companies also choose to have either an audit or a review in order to maintain good relations with their stakeholders.

CPAs specializing in assurance services are part of the fastest growing niches in the industry. Assurance services are methods designed and implemented by the CPA that improve the quality of information for decision makers. Electronic commerce, elder care, comprehensive risk assessment, entity performance measurement and information systems quality assessment are just a few examples of assurance services areas.

As our global industries must pay close attention to environmental issues, CPAs are playing a key role. From environmental compliance audits and systems and procedures audits to handling claims and disputes, CPAs are advising their clients in creating systems for environmental compliance, preventing future legal claims, and advising in other legal matters.

A CPA can also double as a detective of sorts. The forensic CPA looks beyond the initial numbers of accounting records to determine if fraud or criminal acts have been committed. The forensic CPA identifies evidence of criminal conduct and may assist in the litigation of claimed damages. In addition, companies consult forensic CPAs on decisions to declare bankruptcy or to remain solvent. CPAs are also called upon in family law and divorce cases to help determine property value and other financial matters.

The expansion in information technology has created numerous opportunities for CPAs with computer skills. CPAs who can create and execute advanced technology solutions to fit a company’s specialized needs are in high demand. CPAs with skills in software research and development are in demand.

CPAs are essential in our global economy. With knowledge of international trade rules and laws, merger and acquisition issues, and foreign business customs, languages and procedures, a CPA can be invaluable to an international company. Management Consulting Service CPAs are known for their objective advice and technical assistance to individuals, businesses, financial institutions, non-profit organizations and government agencies. Consulting engagements, ranging from brief conversations with management to implementation of a system to improve operations, allow for variety and flexibility for the CPA.

As personal financial planners (PFP), CPAs provide assistance in identifying financial goals and advising on the risk, liquidity, management and tax characteristics of investments. A PFP assists his clients to better manage their assets through controlling expenses and decreasing debt, develop investment tactics and asset allocation strategies, tax consulting, insurance planning, retirement planning, and understand estate and gift tax.

The CPA with expertise in tax matters works in three main areas: tax practice, tax consulting, tax compliance, and representation of clients before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The tax specialist must use sound financial judgment and innovation in order to provide solutions to complicated tax problems.

CPAs in business and industry work in a variety of companies from family-owned businesses to Fortune 500 companies. They are strategists who usually work within a particular industry specializing in developing, producing and analyzing data which assists in making business solutions. Industry titles include financial planning director, internal auditor, chief accountant, controller, and chief financial officer.

CPAs are responsible for studying a company’s financing needs, dealing with banks and other investors, and managing the company’s cash and investments.

The CPA is responsible for collecting and checking data required for the preparation of financial statements. These CPAs are often in charge of various aspects of the computer system used in the preparation of financial statements.

The internal auditor is responsible for providing an objective review of the company’s financial and operating systems. The CPA also advises senior management on financial moves and planning.

CPAs working in management accounting are responsible for the accumulation, analysis and reporting of financial and non-financial data in a format and level of detail required by management for making business decisions. Management accountants may make recommendations on business policy, resource allocation, and business operations to improve financial performance.

CPAs are broad-based experts whose knowledge and skills are sought and valued by management in various non-financial positions. CPAs can succeed in business as top level managers, chief executive officers, and company presidents.

CPAs determine the company’s liability for income tax, licenses, sales tax, property tax, and payroll tax. The CPA would analyze the effects of tax accounting alternatives and study laws and regulations to ensure correct application of new tax measures.

The role of CPAs in government encompasses all areas of our federal, state, and local jurisdictions. The CPA has traditional duties in the areas of auditing, financial reporting and management accounting. Also, CPAs in government are able to evaluate and advise officials on the efficiency of governmental agencies on all levels.

Federal level: CPAs work in such departments as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service, Department of the Treasury and the General Accounting Office. They may be involved in investigating white-collar crime, doing financial statement audits for government agencies, researching financial management issues, testifying before a legislative committee on an audit, or on the impact of pending tax legislation.

State/local level: At the state and local level, CPAs are involved in conducting financial, performance or compliance audits which may include analyzing a school district’s ability to remain viable, the propriety of expenditures for constructing prisons, the effectiveness of the workers’ compensation system, or the regulatory compliance of hazardous waste programs.

CPAs in not-for-profit organizations provide the materials and information these institutions need to guarantee that the benefits and services they provide do not exceed revenues. Whether a CPA is on the staff of a not-for-profit organization or serves in an advisory capacity, he or she can help the organization solve tax problems, set up an internal control system, budget resources, and prepare financial data for fundraising.
As educators, CPAs are faculty members in colleges of business administration, professional schools of accountancy, graduate schools of business, and community colleges. These CPAs are responsible for the instruction of students in areas such as auditing, financial accounting, taxation, cost and managerial accounting, and ethics. In addition to teaching, educators have the opportunity to advise and influence students by organizing professional student groups and other activities. Researching, writing books and articles on accounting practices and theory are also components in the accounting education profession. Many educators also use their expertise and knowledge to consult businesses in management practices.

MACPA Members Receive a 20% Discount on Gleim CPA Review. Click here to receive your discount on Gleim’s Traditional & Premium Review Systems.

Gleim is committed to helping you pass your exams. Gleim has helped millions of candidates pass their accounting certification exams since 1974. Authored by professional educators, Gleim CPA Review courses provide the tools needed to pass the CPA Exam.

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Gleim is pleased to offer you a FREE Gleim CPA Exam Guide that will answer all of your questions regarding the CPA Exam process and what to expect on Exam Day. Download your free copy here.

Helpful Resources

Keep learning about your future! Reference these links below, and if you have any questions at all, please reach out to us at here.

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