A certified public accountant, or CPA, is a highly qualified financial expert who specializes in accounting. CPAs handle a wide range of financial-related responsibilities, from financial reporting to audit work and forensic research.
State-by-state requirements for becoming a CPA differ. People must, in general, pass the CPA exam to become a CPA:
- Have at least 150 credit hours in a bachelor's degree.
- Have at least two years of experience working in public accounting.
- Pass all four portions of the CPA test; topics covered include auditing, business environment and principles, financial accounting and reporting, and regulation.
- Additional state-specific criteria, such as an ethics course, must be met.
What Are CPAs and What Do They Do?
Aside from tax preparation, which is likely the most well-known job of a CPA, certified public accountants assist individual and corporate clients in a variety of ways. CPAs can specialize in a variety of areas, including auditing, bookkeeping, consulting, management, and financial advising and planning, to mention a few. Contact CPA Californiais to have the best services regarding every aspect of accounting. CPAs operate in a variety of settings, including public and private corporations, government, education, non-profits, and even public accounting firms. A CPA, on the other hand, isn't always a one-stop shop when it comes to money management. They will almost certainly require the assistance of other financial specialists, such as licensed financial advisers.
How to Select a Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
It's critical to engage with a CPA they can trust because they analyze confidential financial documents and have access to sensitive information like their Social Security number. As a result, the majority of people find CPAs through reviews and referrals from people they already know and trust. If customers are unable to locate a reputable CPA, they might use the services of professional tax preparers. The IRS does not rate the tax preparers on its list, but it does provide information about their credentials and qualifications. Online directories can also be found by searching for their state's board of accountancy or CPA society.
When people find potential CPAs, they should check their credentials on a site like CPA Verify, which is a free database that consolidates records from state boards of accountancy. Look for any reviews of CPAs they are interested in and set up an introductory meeting with them. They will want to learn about their experience, such as how long they have been working and who their usual client is, as well as how much they charge, during this encounter. It will be helpful if they bring a copy of their most recent tax return to this meeting.
Accountants' employers are divided into two categories: public accounting and private accounting. Working for a CPA company is a public accounting, whereas working for businesses, non-profits, and governments is private accounting. Positions at top accounting companies are specialized in areas including audit, tax, and consulting services. Smaller company CPAs are anticipated to be generalists who work in a variety of areas, as predicted, but they may specialize with time. Large corporations are ready and able to pay a premium to attract great people because they are frequently located in major metro areas.