Frequently referred to as "the language of business," accounting involves understanding how finances work and affect the bottom line. Why do we need accountants, you ask? Accountants keep businesses in business by telling them how to do it better. Businesses manage every dollar earned and spent, therefore they value the expertise of someone who examines financial documents for accuracy and suggests ways to reduce cost and maximize profit. Accounting professionals advise a broad range of organizations from the general public, corporations, and nonprofits to government agencies. While learning to organize, record, analyze, and interpret financial data, you'll gain a firm understanding of tax laws and business regulations. You'll learn various methods for handling financial statements, business transactions, payroll, and budget analysis. It's not all about numbers though. Do away with the stereotype of accountants as hermits holed up in their cubicles with calculators and spreadsheets, because accounting students must acquire effective communication and interpersonal skills necessary for professional success. Accounting students graduate with a thorough understanding of business, preparing them for many career possibilities. The skills learned as an accounting major are applicable to every industry; whether you decide to become an accountant for a hospital or large corporation, the skill set remains the same. Graduates are prepared to become Certified Public Accountants (CPAs); pursue a career in finance, corporate management, consulting, or government; pursue an MBA; or eventually start their own practice. Graduates are strongly encouraged to pursue a CPA certificate. This credential verifies your knowledge of accounting principles and practices, so no matter which branch of accounting you enter, being a CPA will open doors and lead to career advancement. The requirements for becoming a CPA vary state by state, but in general you need education, experience, and to pass the CPA exam. Prepping for the exam will take a lot of studying since it has four parts you'll need to pass individually. It's challenging, but not impossible, and definitely rewarding! Apply to sit for the exam well in advance and take advantage of test prep and practice resources.