What is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA)?
Published on : Jul 07 2011
Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) can fill many roles in the business world. From acting as chief financial officers (CFO) for Fortune 500 companies or as advisors to small neighborhood businesses, CPAs can offer a wide range of skills and services to help businesses grow.
Many CPAs work for or run their own public accounting firms, both small and large. in these roles, they can act as consultants on many issues, including accounting, taxes, and strategic decision making.
A CPA is an advisor who helps individuals, businesses, and other organizations plan and reach their financial goals. Whatever those goals-saving for retirement, opening a new business, or planning a multi-billion dollar merger-CPAs can help.
What qualifies a CPA?
CPA certification is a lengthy process that requires the completion of a program of study in accounting at an accredited college/university. The American institute of CPAs (AICPA) recommends at least 150 semester hours of college coursework.
Once initial course work is met, the next step in the CPA process is to sit for the Uniform CPA Examination. Sitting for the exam While the Exam is developed and graded by the AICPA, eligibility to sit for the CPA Exam is determined by the state board of accountancy in each of the 55 U.S. jurisdictions (includes the 50 states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam). Upon passing the CPA Exam, the candidate will receive his/her CPA certificate. This is not a license to practice. There are other educational and professional work experience requirements for licensure that vary from state to state.
Once the individual has obtained a CPA license to practice, s/he will need to take continuing professional education courses annually to retain the license.
As you can see, it takes a considerable about of time, education, and expertise to become a CPA. Not every small business will need a CPA to assist with business accounting and decision making. Depending on the individual's needs a small business accountant, bookkeeper, or tax professional like an Enrolled Agent may be more than adequate.
PASBA member accountants bring the collective resources of a nationwide network of Certified Public Accountants, Public Accountants, Enrolled Agents and other practitioners available to answer your tax and financial questions and streamline your business accounting, bookkeeping, and payroll operations. To find a trusted accountant in your area, visit www.SmallBizAccountants.com.
Please be advised that, based on current IRS rules and standards, any advice contained herein is not intended to be used, nor can it be used, for the avoidance of any tax penalty that the IRS may assess related to this matter. Any information contained in this article, whether viewed or subsequently printed, cannot be relied upon as qualified tax and accounting advice. Any information contained in this article does not fall under the guidelines of IRS Circular 230.
Copyright Information 2011 Professional Association of Small Business Accountants