What Does an Accountant Do? Duties, Rules, Skills, and History

what does a cpa do

Certified public accountant (CPAs) typically earn above-average salaries and enjoy strong demand in the job market. As such, CPAs have the flexibility to seek out advanced roles that match their preferences. CPAs are required to maintain their license through continuing education courses, including ethics. While accountants manage day-to-day financial tasks, CPAs are trusted with larger responsibilities. They can perform financial audits and represent their clients before the IRS.

They must identify situations that might be unethical or a violation of professional standards and determine the appropriate action to these situations. In addition, they must identify key risks in a financial information technology environment. Test takers must show they understand the process by which accounting standards are set and the roles of various governmental and industry groups such as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), and the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB). The exam sections employ multi-stage testlets for the multiple-choice questions. Depending on your performance, the next testlet will be of the same level or slightly more difficult.

History of the CPA Designation

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) provides guidance on how to obtain CPA licensure. The CPA designation aims to guarantee that professional accounting rules are implemented. Other countries, such as the United Kingdom, have qualifications that are equivalent to the CPA designation, such as Chartered Accountant (CA). Certified public accountants work with financial documents that organizations are required by law to complete. These include tax forms and a business’ annual and quarterly financial disclosures.

  • This equips them with a unique perspective and an ability to bridge various business functions.
  • Typically, an accountant is a person who has a degree in accounting from a higher education institution.
  • Many states require you to hold a bachelor’s degree, and most require or will require 150 hours of post-high school education.
  • For many years, I worked in public accounting as an auditor and consultant.
  • To give yourself the best chance possible when taking the exam, taking one of the best CPA prep courses might be worth considering.

Public accountants who meet certain qualifications can seek licensure to work as certified public accountants (CPAs). This page covers important information about CPA careers, including responsibilities and qualifications. https://turbo-tax.org/law-firms-and-client-trust-accounts/ A certified public accountant is a financial professional with valuable education and experience. CPAs must pass a certification exam and be licensed by their state to earn their designation.

History of the CPA Profession

In 2021, I decided to take the next step in my accounting career journey, and I am now a self-employed accounting consultant and business advisor. I was able to put my technical accounting and client service skills to use in working with my own clients. It’s been really interesting to see accounting from another perspective as part of an internal accounting team. Their experience and knowledge of the tax code enable them to identify credits and deductions to reduce taxes due and increase refunds.

  • You can check with your state’s board of accountancy to verify your eligibility.
  • You’ll also need to complete continuing education to remain licensed.
  • The new exam, launching in 2024, will ensure candidates have the knowledge they need for the changing field of public accounting.
  • He noted that social media companies had rolled back resources to police what appeared online.
  • CPAs are required to maintain their license through continuing education courses, including ethics.

If you are a “numbers person” or interested only in the accounting profession, the CPA may be better for you. In 1934, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) required all publicly traded companies to file periodic financial reports endorsed by members of the accounting industry. The AICPA established accounting standards until 1973 when the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) was launched to set standards for private companies.

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Candidates have four hours to complete each section, with a total exam time of 16 hours. Each section is taken individually, and How to do bookkeeping for startup candidates can choose the order in which they take them. Candidates must pass all four sections of the exam within 18 months.

what does a cpa do