Certified Public Accountant: What the CPA Credential Means


Federal and state laws require CPAs to maintain independence when performing audits and reviews. While consulting at Enron, Arthur Andersen CPAs did not maintain independence and performed both consulting services and auditing services, which violates the CPA code of ethics. The certified public accountant is a professional designation given to qualified accountants. Their experience and knowledge of the tax code enable them to identify credits and deductions to reduce taxes due and increase refunds.

What Are the Responsibilities of a CPA?

Depending on their particular role, a CPA may be involved in one or more aspects of the accounting profession. CPAs can specialize in areas like forensic accounting, personal financial planning, and taxation. In addition, CPAs must complete continuing education requirements and uphold a standard of ethics.

In addition, these tax rules can be pretty complicated and difficult to navigate without an expert reviewing how they affect your business. Any CPAs involved in this area will review these tax rules to recommend the best course of action. An accountant can conduct activities such as bookkeeping and tax return preparation as well; however, a CPA is highly knowledgeable in their field and operates according to a high ethical standard. Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work.

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They can outline best practices for you and ensure you adhere to regulations you need to know. Using a CPA for audit and assurance services helps to enhance the quality of the financial information or context. An audit is an objective evaluation of economic and financial information. This evaluation follows the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles . Although an audit is based on general principles, it can be confusing and time-consuming to handle on your own. They’re familiar with IRS practices and understand how to navigate the auditing process.

  • He currently researches and teaches economic sociology and the social studies of finance at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
  • We learned a lot about financial accounting and also learned to audit.
  • “Increasingly, people rely on CPAs for assistance in building college funds, planning for retirement, and creating estate plans,” the Society of Louisiana Certified Public Accountants says.
  • CPA Jenna Carson, a partner at personal finance website MoneyLucid.com, notes that many CPAs spend at least eight years studying and working before obtaining a license.
  • The beginning of the 18-month time frame varies by jurisdiction.

Furthermore, only those with a CPA license can legally verify documents and forms. CPAs can also represent taxpayers on their behalf with the IRS and during tax auditions. Additionally, CPAs can sign tax returns and earn a higher salary than your traditional accountant. Those earning the CPA generally end up as an accountant of some sort.

You’ll Have Peace Of Mind Knowing Your Finances Are In Order

https://quick-bookkeeping.net/s understand how to use accounting software and are updated with new tax laws, so you can ensure that your taxes are filed correctly. The accounting industry thrived in the late 1990s due to large accounting firms expanding their services to include various forms of consulting. The Enron scandal in 2001 resulted in major changes in the accounting industry, including the fact that Arthur Andersen, one of the nation’s top accounting firms, went out of business. Under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which was passed in 2002, accountants were subject to tougher restrictions about their consulting assignments. This is a licensed accounting and business professional who has passed the CPA exam and is an expert in financial accounting, auditing, and most other business/finance topics. Public accounting entails a wide variety of auditing, accounting, tax, and consultancy services for small companies, corporations, individuals, and governmental bodies.

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