Continuing Education

Continuing Education: How To Get the Most Out of Your Mandatory CPE Hours

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Using Mandatory CE Hours to Turn Additional Profit

If you work in a fluid profession, you undoubtedly understand the importance of continuing education. Doctors are expected to keep up with the most current methods and remedies, and lawyers are expected to have a handle on ever-changing laws.

Accounting is no different. As an accounting professional, you’re expected to maintain a working knowledge of current tax laws and regulations simply to retain your license. These CPA CPE hours are often required yearly, depending on the state you work in, and mostly cover topics like updates to technology, auditing and basic tax laws.

While staying updated is important, there is more to be gleaned from the additional training. Why not use that time to focus on specializing in a niche accounting practice? The benefits far outweigh the amount of time and effort it would take to gain certification, and your career would be taken to a whole new level of expertise.

If you’re content with general accounting and have no desire to advance your position, then specializing is not for you. But as the quote goes, “Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings”. There is no reason for you to be stuck on a hamster wheel of tax prep and bookkeeping when you could be adding exponential value to your practice simply by using your CPE hours wisely.

Top 4 Reasons for Specializing

  1. It’s all in the dollar signs. Gaining actual certification in a specialized accounting field will make you worth more money, plain and simple. It allows you to hone your skills in one specific area, which will make you an expert. Experts are always worth more money, no matter what the profession. The value your expertise brings to your firm will not go unnoticed, and either your salary or your direct profit will reflect that.

  2. Your professional confidence and focus will improve. As a general accountant or CPA, you’re probably dabbling in dozens of different services for your clients. And while you’re probably well-equipped to handle them all, you’ll never be able to master everything. This inherently produces a lack of direction and focus for your entire firm and leads to mediocre solutions and low morale. Specializing creates the kind of laser focus that produces clear direction for your firm and confidence in your professional skills.

  3. You’ll see a lot of new clientele. Once you’re certified and established as a specialist in a niche accounting field, you’ll start seeing new clients. There is a high demand for certain sub-fields of accounting, and the people who need those particular services are willing to pay more for someone who has experience and certification. They will undoubtedly choose you over a general practice. Additionally, other practices that don’t offer your specialization will send you referrals, which will build you a reputation and add to your client base.

  4. It will provide you the opportunity to start your own firm if you haven’t already. The new clientele that you gain from specializing and the existing clients who benefit from your newly-gained expertise will give you enough business to branch out on your own. And if you’re already a practicing accountant, you don’t need us to explain to you why owning a firm would be much more lucrative than being employed by one. If this is the direction you choose to take, don’t allow yourself to be intimidated by the risk or the process of opening your own firm. It may be easier than you think.

Niche Accounting Opportunities

Real Estate Accounting

These accounting professionals will offer expertise in managing the entire accounting process for real estate companies. This will entail preparing financial reports and managing financial records for the sales, purchases and rentals of properties. You will only need a bachelor’s degree in accounting and experience in the field to do this kind of accounting. Of course, mastering this area will put you at the top of the list for real estate companies that are looking for an accountant.

Estate and Trust Accounting

While this sub-practice is not new or exciting, it’s always in high demand. CPAs in this field will prepare and manage a living trust for a trustee and then oversee the dispersal of funds to the beneficiaries when the trustee passes away. Because there is a continuous need in this field, and because of the potentially long timeframe of each case, there will always be a demand for your services.

Forensic Accounting

Forensic accounting is a quickly growing sub-field with an ever-increasing client base. As long as there are businesses, there will be financial fraud. And forensic accountants play a vital role in prosecuting the offenders by combing through accounting records to look for irregularities that can be used as proof in court.

Tax Resolution

After completing the right tax resolution training course, you’ll be well positioned to represent clients that owe back taxes to the IRS or that are facing an IRS audit.

As a tax resolution professional, you’ll be proficient in the constantly advancing methods and tools used to negotiate with the IRS on behalf of clients. And given the recent and current events that have derailed the financial stability of both individuals and businesses, this field will be in high demand indefinitely. Since you’ll ultimately be saving clients money on back taxes, this service is very valuable.

Continuing Education Can Open New Doors

The way you drive your professional career is a matter of preference. Some will feel more comfortable where they are. But the most successful careers are those that are backed by ambition and transformation. No matter the path you choose, CPE is necessary for accountants. You might as well use it towards a more lucrative career as a specialist.

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