Saturday, May 4, 2013

What is a cpa?

CPA normally stands for certified public accountant and in simple terms describes a person that has done what is required to be licensed by the state and able to provide accounting services to other people. Many states have different rules on what it takes to become a cpa. Some states will require you to not just complete the test but also have required time working as a certified public accountant.

Other states might not require you to do any training before reciving your certification like for example Arizona, Kansas, North Carolina, and Michigan you will not have to put in hours of on the job  experience before reciving your license and being ready to work in the field.  In the other states of the US you will have the normal rules requiring you to finish the exam and completed enough on the job experience to practice in your state. If you fail to participate in the on the job experience then you would be listed as inactive or marked that you need to finish some educational phase until you meet the nessessary requirements. During that point you would not be permitted to do any certified public accounting work such as auditing, public attestation or providing oppinions on finacial statements.

Many states used to have lower qualifications of certified public accountant but these titles usually describe a person without a license. Anyone without a license would not be permited to use the  designations  "accountant" and "auditor" in Texas unless they are a cpa in a different state. They would still be required to meet all of Texas cpa license laws in order to practice within that state.

The main function of a CPA is to provide public accounting services, or finacial auditing services to people. CPA's are require to follow generally accepted accounting principles which are the base guidelines for any financial accounting and set the standards for accounting. Corperations can hire CPA's to manage financial accounting within the corperation and are required to understand the business and practice required for that job. The role in a corperation would be similar to a financial manager or a Chief Financial Officer of the corperation even CEO's of the company would be expected to know financial accounting for there positions. CPA's within corperations do not provide  services to the public instead they practice only within the corperation that they work for.

CPA's play a big role in the tax and income department of many medium sized and small sized businesses. They usually work within the auditing department and work with taxes. CPA's can also help by repusenting people when it comes to dealing with problems with Internal Revenue Service.

CPA's are able to work under many different area's of finance some examples of these are:

  • Information Technology, especially as applied to accounting and auditing
  • Management Consulting and Performance Management
  • Tax Preparation and Planning
  • Venture Capital
  • Financial reporting
  • Regulatory reporting
  • Assurance and Attestation Services
  • Corporate Finance
  • Corporate Governance
  • Estate Planning
  • Financial Accounting
  • Financial Analysis
  • Financial Planning
  • Forensic Accounting
  • Income Tax

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