What Is a CPA? What Do Certified Public Accountants Do?


Certified public accountants (CPAs) are crucial in today’s complex and ever-changing business environment.

CPAs are answerable for providing reliable financial information, assisting with tax preparation and ensuring the accuracy of monetary records, amongst other responsibilities.

The CPA designation is a prestigious credential that signifies high competence and adherence to skilled standards.

Here, you’ll learn more about what a CPA is, the roles and responsibilities of certified public accountants and the technique of obtaining a CPA license.

Moreover, we are going to explore the varied profession paths and specializations available to CPAs and the importance of ethics and professionalism in accounting.

What’s a CPA?

A CPA, or certified public accountant, is a designation awarded to accounting professionals who’ve met specific education, examination and experience requirements.

They possess the knowledge and expertise to perform various accounting services, including financial accounting, tax preparation, audit and consulting services.

The excellence between a CPA and a non-CPAaccounting skilled is crucial. A non-CPA can have an accounting degree and perform bookkeeping or financial reporting tasks.

Nonetheless, a CPA has passed the rigorous Uniform CPA Exam, met work experience requirements and is licensed by their respective State Boards of Accountancy. This licensure indicates the next level of experience and competence in accounting practices.

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) is the national skilled organization representing CPAs in america.

It establishes skilled standards, provides resources and supports CPAs of their careers by offering continuing education and skilled development opportunities.

What are the education and licensure requirements for CPAs?

Aspiring candidates must meet specific educational and licensing requirements to turn out to be CPAs. These include:

Educational Background: Candidates will need to have a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field. Some states also require a master’s degree or a certain variety of semester hours in accounting courses to be eligible for licensure.

Uniform CPA exam

Administered by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA), the Uniform CPA Exam is a comprehensive and difficult test that assesses a candidate’s knowledge and skills in various accounting areas.

The exam consists of 4 sections:

  • AUD: Auditing and Attestation.
  • BEC: Business Environment and Concepts.
  • FAR: Financial Accounting and Reporting.
  • REG: Regulation.

Please remember that candidates must pass all 4 sections inside an 18-month window. Once passed, one may earn their CPA certification.

Licensing requirements

Every state has a State Board of Accountancy answerable for licensing CPAs. These boards set the eligibility, education and experience requirements for licensure.

Typically, CPA candidates must complete a particular variety of work experience hours under the supervision of a licensed CPA before obtaining their CPA license. Moreover, some states require ongoing continuing skilled education to take care of licensure.

Related: How Can I Help My CPA?

What job opportunities can be found to CPAs?

CPAs have a big selection of profession opportunities available to them, including working for:

  • Public Accounting Firms: CPAs can work for big, medium or small public accounting firms, providing services reminiscent of auditing, tax planning and consulting to clients in various industries.
  • Government Agencies: CPAs can work for federal, state or local government agencies, reminiscent of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), managing budgets and financial reports and ensuring compliance with financial regulations.
  • Non-profit Organizations: CPAs may go for non-profit organizations, overseeing financial records, managing budgets and ensuring compliance with tax laws and regulations.
  • CFO and Chief Financial Officer Positions: CPAs with extensive experience and knowledge can rise to executive-level positions, reminiscent of Chief Financial Officer (CFO), overseeing a company’s financial operations and strategy.

Related: Learn how to Select the Best CPA Firm in your Startup or Business

What services do CPAs provide?

CPAs provide quite a lot of services, including:

  • Financial Accounting: Preparing and maintaining financial statements and records to make sure accurate and reliable financial information.
  • Tax Preparation and Tax Returns: Assisting individuals and businesses in preparing and filing their tax returns while ensuring compliance with tax laws.
  • Auditing and Attestation: Conducting audits to confirm the accuracy and integrity of monetary statements and providing assurance on the reliability of monetary information.
  • Financial Planning and Consulting Services: Helping clients achieve their financial goals by providing advice on investments, budgeting and financial management.

Regardless of what area of accounting you select to pursue, a CPA profession might be exciting and rewarding. The job offers opportunities for growth and the possibility to work with clients from all walks of life.

That is why so many individuals pursue a profession in accounting and turn out to be CPAs.

What are the specializations throughout the CPA occupation?

CPAs can decide to specialise in specific areas of accounting based on their interests and profession goals.

A few of these specializations include:

Forensic accounting

This specialization involves investigating financial fraud, disputes and other irregularities. Forensic accountants may go with law enforcement agencies, legal teams or businesses to uncover financial misconduct and help resolve disputes.

Financial planning

CPAs who specialise in financial planning advise individuals and businesses on various points of monetary management, reminiscent of investments, retirement planning and estate planning.


Tax specialists give attention to tax compliance, planning and consulting for people, businesses and non-profit organizations. They assist clients navigate complex tax laws and regulations, minimize tax liabilities and reap the benefits of tax-saving opportunities.

Nonprofit and government accounting

CPAs working on this field give attention to the unique accounting and financial reporting requirements of non-profit organizations and government agencies. They ensure compliance with specific regulations and assist with budgeting and financial management.

Consulting services

CPA consultants provide specialized advice and solutions to businesses on various financial, operational and strategic matters, reminiscent of mergers and acquisitions, business valuations and risk management.

What are the moral and skilled guidelines within the CPA occupation?

Ethics and professionalism are essential components of the CPA occupation. To take care of the general public’s trust and uphold the occupation’s popularity, CPAs must adhere to the AICPA’s Code of Ethics, which outlines their ethical responsibilities and provides guidance on maintaining the very best standards of integrity and professionalism.

Continuing skilled education (CPE) is one other vital aspect of maintaining ethical standards.

CPAs are required to finish a certain variety of CPE hours annually to remain up-to-date with the newest industry trends, changes in laws and regulations and best practices in accounting.

Related: How Leaders and Their Teams Flourish Through Continuing Education

Consider a profession as a CPA

For those who are enthusiastic about pursuing a profession in accounting, then a CPA is a superb option. With the right education, experience and willingness to learn, you may turn out to be a successful CPA and luxuriate in a rewarding profession crammed with many opportunities.

If you wish to learn more, try Entrepreneur for other detailed articles covering accounting and other financial topics.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Share post:




We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.


More like this

2020 Q2 report: domains increase by 3.3 million (up 0.9%)

VeriSign, Inc. (NASDAQ: VRSN) today announced that the second...

Universities CEOs Attended the Most

Having a good education is one of the first...

Live domain auction grosses $2.2 million

Seven figure sale of holiday.com highlights auction. Last week’s Right...

Mike Mann with Alex Pires and Krista Gable (video)

Mike Mann with Alex Pires and Krista Gable (video)