If you're interested in a career in business, then regardless of your current job, education, or background, you should strongly consider becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA in the United States) or Chartered Accountant (CA in Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, etc.).
Becoming a CPA (in order to make things more succinct, I'll simply use the acronym "CPA") will give you the business tools, connections, competitive pay, and career certification to have a successful career in business. Numerous factors in the United States and abroad have recently increased the need for competent accountants, and salaries in the industry make it a very desirable career choice.
Upon graduating from college, students with an accounting degree are actively recruited by accounting firms. Top students are especially courted by the "Big 4" Accounting Firms (PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young, KPMG, and Deloitte & Touche). These international firms represent the largest players in the public accounting profession.
Working for one of these firms will provide not only top notch training and resources, but a lifetime worth of connections from both internal colleagues and external clients. In addition, the benefit of being able to list one of these firms on your resume will have advantages for your entire career since these firms represent the best "pedigree" for a CPA to have in their background.
Most individuals work for a public accounting firm for two to five years in order to satisfy the experience requirement (which varies by state but is typically, two years) mandated by their state to be a licensed CPA.
When leaving a public accounting firm, numerous career options are available, and many individuals take positions as Accounting Managers, Controllers, and middle management positions in private industry or at large publicly traded corporations. These positions tend to be very well compensated and are in strong demand throughout the United States and worldwide.
Compensation is another factor you should take into account should you decide to become a CPA. As the demand has increased for CPAs, starting salaries have also risen and remained highly competitive with other industries.
After a couple of years’ experience, salaries tend to rise even further, both in public accounting and in private industry. Salaries can easily reach into the six figures after ten years in the profession.
Becoming a CPA will also give you the validation to set yourself apart from others in the business world. The certification provides you with a well-accepted foundation of knowledge that others will know you possess.
Because the CPA distinction is well known and respected in the business community, there will be widespread acceptance of your abilities, training, and educational background. This will enable you to find a new job, gain immediate respect at a new company, publish articles in trade journals, or teach at a Community College.
There are a few downsides, though, but these tend to be inherent in any professional service industry. In the first few years, the hours are long, especially during busy season or tax season.
A new employee can get lost in a firm as large as one of the "Big 4", and it can be tough to grasp the complicated internal political process. But these are issues that could arise at any large corporation or service related profession and shouldn't dissuade a person from pursuing a CPA license.
If you're considering a career in business, in just about any capacity, it would behoove you to at least consider becoming a CPA or CA. The networking possibilities, salary, and entry into the business world are all strong factors why an individual would consider becoming a CPA.
Consider the experience of becoming a CPA as the best foundation for a future in the business world. There's not a whole lot of downside, so if the business world is on your horizon, consider the CPA route.