Great Accounting Firms Share These 10 Traits which has gone far beyond the paper-pushing days and now involves acting as a virtual CFO
Certified Public Accountant
Certified Public Accountant is a professional who performs accounting functions such as auditing, financial statement preparation, prepare individual and corporate tax returns
He or She is a practitioner of accounting or accountancy. Certified Public Accountant is a professional who has demonstrated competency through their professional associations’ certification exams is certified to use titles such as Chartered Accountant, Chartered Certified Accountant, or Certified Public Accountant. Such professionals are granted certain responsibilities by statute, such as the ability to certify an organization’s financial statements, and may be held liable for professional misconduct. Non-qualified accountants may be employed by a qualified accountant or may work independently without statutory privileges and obligations.
In the United States, Certified Public Accountant is a professional licensed accountants are Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), and in certain states, Public Accountants (PAs). Unlicensed accountants may be Certified Internal Auditors (CIAs) and Certified Management Accountants (CMAs). The difference between these certifications is primarily the legal status and the types of services provided, although individuals may earn more than one certification. Additionally, much accounting work is performed by uncertified individuals, who may be working under the supervision of a certified accountant. As noted above, the majority of accountants work in the private sector or may offer their services without the need for certification.
The training ti required for a Certified Public Accountant is a professional in the US requires specific guidelines:
- Certificate: Several months to a year
- Associate degree: 1–2 years
- Bachelor’s degree: 3–4 years
CPA: 5 years of education (150-sester college credits) plus 1–2 years of work experience (length of work experience required depends on which state is granting the license)
- Master’s degree: 1–2 years
- Doctoral degree: 3–5 years
A CPA is licensed by a state to provide auditing services to the public. Many CPA firms also offer accounting, tax, litigation support, and other financial advisory services. The requirements for receiving the CPA license vary from state to state, although the passage of the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination is required by all states. This examination is designed and graded by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).
A PA (slots referred to as LPA—Licensed Public Accountant) is licensed by the state to practice accountancy to the same extent as are CPAs, although in so states PAs are not permitted to perform audits or reviews (notably Iowa, Minnesota, Oregon, & South Carolina). Certified Public Accountant is a professional PA’s ability to practice out of state is very limited due to most states having phased out the PA designation. While most states no longer accept new PA license applicants, four states still accept PA applicants for practice privileges within the state. As with the CPA, the requirements for receiving the PA license vary from state to state. Most states require a passage of either two or three (out of four) sections of the CPA exam or passage of the Comprehensive Examination for Accreditation in Accounting which is administered and graded by the Accreditation Council for Accountancy and Taxation (ACAT).