4 Reasons the CPA License Still Has Value in a Corporate Finance Role
July 11, 2022
Whether you've moved from public accounting into corporate finance or you started your career as a corporate finance professional, at some point in your career you may find yourself asking a big question: Should I maintain my CPA license?
It's true — many corporate finance roles, including top leadership-level positions like CFO, often don't require the CPA license. If you’re one of the few finance team members within an organization, you also might face leadership that lacks understanding of why the license provides value to the organization even if you’re not performing traditional CPA tasks.
No matter the case, the CPA license has merit in a corporate finance setting, and most of all, for your personal career. Here are four key reasons why.
1. The CPA License Positions You as a Leader
The CPA designation is one of the most recognized in business and holds weight, even among those who don’t know much about accounting.
"CPAs are often viewed as an elite group of professionals…These individuals achieve a level of expertise and proficiency beyond that of a 'standard' accountant," explains the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy.
Having a CPA license not only signals you have a baseline of knowledge and a demonstrated proficiency in key financial areas, but it also shows you've invested time and resources toward becoming an expert. It also means you step up to the plate and are prepared to challenge yourself and continue growing. This positions you as a leader and boosts your opportunities for new roles.
2. The CPA License Keeps You Up to Date on Critical Issues and Skill Sets
Business is changing fast and, in order to thrive, you need to continue learning and growing. Maintaining a CPA license doesn't just say you've invested in continuing education; it provides you access to the education and skills you most need to continue being a successful professional and leader. Today's corporate finance professional is often juggling not only financial responsibilities but also roles in data analytics, IT and more. Even if you weren't maintaining your license, chances are you would still need continuing education to keep up with the evolving demands of the field.
CPE classes are evolving to cover new facets of the CPA career, including options especially targeted to help corporate finance professionals lead team members, learn new technologies, analyze data, and manage risks. In addition, CPE opportunities are becoming more flexible. A range of online events cuts down on travel and the need to miss work or incur travel expenses.
Overall, investing in the continuing education aspect of your license shows you're up-to-date on ethics and more in tune with the challenges of modern business. You’re juggling many balls; NJCPA can be a resource and partner in helping you continue to evolve and learn skills that will only propel your career forward.
3. The CPA License Keeps Opportunities Within Reach
Are you ready to stay in your role for the rest of your career?
If you're early- to mid-career level, the chances are slim you'll call your current organization your home for the rest of your career. Maintaining your CPA license keeps you competitive whether you’ll be looking for another job down the road or you're looking for leverage to move up within your existing organization.
Letting your CPA license expire could cost you opportunities and indicate to a potential employer you lack an up-to-date grasp of industry concepts. It can also cost you financially. If you let your license lapse and decide you want to reinstate it later, you’ll need to pay a fee in addition to restarting CPE and filing paperwork to get it back.
4. The CPA License Connects You to Others Facing the Same Challenges
Corporate finance roles can sometimes be a lonely island, especially if you're with a small organization and the only member of the financial team.
Being eligible to be an NJCPA member means access to networking events, conferences and other learning opportunities that help you build a peer network who understands the intricacies, challenges and rewards of your job. Learning from your peers gives you the opportunity to exchange innovative ideas and best practices you can apply to your role. Plus, it makes that island feel a little less lonely.