Author Topic: Value of an EA (enrolled agent) for employability?  (Read 357 times)

mousebandit

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Value of an EA (enrolled agent) for employability?
« on: November 17, 2017, 11:19:34 AM »
I am looking to up my employability.  I've been a sahm for 16 years now, and homeschooling my 4 young children.  Two years ago, I did the education and exams required to secure an Oregon tax preparers license, and worked last season for an HR Block.  (Oregon requires licenses to prepare taxes, and either a higher license or an EA to do so independently.)

I had intended to obtain my EA and have a substantial side gig preparing taxes from home.  In the event that I needed to secure full-time, outside employment, either in Oregon or another state, would an EA substantially boost my employability or compensation, versus basic tax prep license?

Also, would it be beneficial to obtain a QuickBooks certification of some type, or is proficiency enough? 

My goal is to be able to walk out and secure a full time job, if need be, with $55k minimum compensation.  Tax prep, accounting, bookkeeping are my most up-to-date skills, although I also have a real estate license. 

seattlecyclone

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Re: Value of an EA (enrolled agent) for employability?
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2017, 11:34:43 AM »
There was a thread about this at the beginning of this year. Sounds like getting the EA would help your wages.
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mousebandit

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Re: Value of an EA (enrolled agent) for employability?
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2017, 12:06:34 PM »
Ah, thank you!  That's a good thread!

SeattleCPA

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Re: Value of an EA (enrolled agent) for employability?
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2017, 02:22:15 PM »
Payscale suggests that a $55K salary would put you at about the 62% percentile... so that $55K figure you provided seems like an unlikely minimum salary for someone with a few months of experience and the EA certificate.

I made this point in my original comments in the thread that SeatleCyclone referenced... but I think lots of single owner CPA firms have owners (so CPAs) who do 1040 tax return and make not much more that you're hoping for as a minimum.
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dleavitt

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Re: Value of an EA (enrolled agent) for employability?
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2017, 05:00:59 PM »
SeattleCPA mentioned it in the linked thread, but the more complex returns are where the need/market is.  At my firm there isn't a single person with the LTP/LTC license, and I'm pretty sure that any resume that had that would have no more value than someone with an accounting degree right out of college (assuming it didn't get round-filed on the spot).

EA would be good though.  We have two EAs on staff (though the earned them after being employed).  CPA is way better, but way more commitment and cost.  I considered going the EA route, but eventually decided to go for the CPA.  That meant going back to school at night, but it will be worth it for me.  Taking FAR on Monday.

Compensation will depend on the market, but I don't think you are going to get $55k out of the gate with only two years of 1040 experience.

mousebandit

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Re: Value of an EA (enrolled agent) for employability?
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2017, 08:25:57 PM »
Thank you, all.  I think the EA will be something I do, but not something I count on to get me to a good salary, by itself. 

SeattleCPA

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Re: Value of an EA (enrolled agent) for employability?
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2017, 08:26:57 AM »
SeattleCPA mentioned it in the linked thread, but the more complex returns are where the need/market is.  At my firm there isn't a single person with the LTP/LTC license, and I'm pretty sure that any resume that had that would have no more value than someone with an accounting degree right out of college (assuming it didn't get round-filed on the spot).

EA would be good though.  We have two EAs on staff (though the earned them after being employed).  CPA is way better, but way more commitment and cost.  I considered going the EA route, but eventually decided to go for the CPA.  That meant going back to school at night, but it will be worth it for me.  Taking FAR on Monday.

Compensation will depend on the market, but I don't think you are going to get $55k out of the gate with only two years of 1040 experience.

Agreed with all above...

Also, probably not what you want to hear because it'd be sooooo much work. But you hear people say a CPA certificate adds about a $1M to your lifetime earnings. I bet that's true.

Note, for someone working toward FIRE, the $1M might be high... but then again, if you were FI but still working a little bit for social, intellectual, risk reduction reasons, the CPA thing could have value even after reaching FI.
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