Why a U.S. CPA Can Help Your Career in Japan
Why does it matter if you have a CPA certification from the United States if you are going to be working in a financial field in Japan? There are two major accounting certifications recognized worldwide, but there is no question that the U.S. Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is the gold standard.
Within the international accounting world, there is the U.S. CPA and the United Kingdom based ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants). Both certifications are recognized throughout the world but they are very different in their qualifications, and the time it takes to earn the certification. They have also become very different in how international companies and governments view them. The U.S. CPA is considered superior to the ACCA, which is why so many accountants are pursuing it.
Value of U.S. CPA in Japan
In Japan, it can be a significant advantage to hold a U.S. CPA. With a strong yen and a strong international economy, combined with an aging and shrinking population, Japan has looked outside the country to fill a good portion of their accounting jobs. If you have a U.S. CPA, you have an advantage when applying for these jobs whether you are from Japan or another country.
According to the NASBA (US National Association of State Boards of Accountancy) the United States CPA is the gold standard, and as demand increases worldwide for professional accountants, it also affords its holders with a diverse career path. This path can be in consulting, management or public accounting. There is a higher demand for those who hold this certification and a high demand for candidates wishing to become a U.S. CPA. The demand in Japan is unusually high as almost 60% of all international candidates are Japanese citizens.
Changes in Japanese Society
There has been a change in the Japanese culture as well as the business community. In the past, the accounting field in Japan was populated with those who had learned the craft through experience and not formal education. Today international companies operating in Japan favor the U.S. CPA as the qualification they look for in professional accountants, financial planners, analysts and even Chief Financial Officers (CFO) and Chief Executive Officers (CEO).
The U.S. CPA bestows credibility upon its holder that no other certification can. As you climb the career ladder, you are more and more likely to interact with other professionals and even clients who themselves hold this credential. Pursuing the U.S.CPA also immerses the candidates in an English speaking environment and exposes them to international accounting principles.
As Japanese lifetime employment fades into the background of past generations, the younger and upcoming generation is beginning to adapt to changing companies every few years to work their way up to the top of their profession. In this environment, as in the West, it becomes more necessary to be the top accountant in your field than to work for Sony your entire life. So like their Western counterparts, young Japanese are working longer hours and increasing their credentials to get ahead. The U.S. CPA being the gold standard in accounting is now being pursued by young Japanese workers, as well as by those Americans and others who wish to build their career with international corporations based in Japan.