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What is a CPA, and what do they do?

Obtaining Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation elevates an accountant’s professional status in the eyes of business contacts, professional colleagues, regulators, and clients alike. The reason for this is that a CPA has completed the necessary academic requirements, passed a problematic four-part test, and committed to adhering to a code of ethics.

A 2013 Robert Half Report on Accounting and Finance found that accounting professionals who hold the Pasadena CPA qualification are the most sought-after and adaptable in the industry.

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In the field of public accounting, what can a certified public accountant (CPA) do that other accountants cannot?

Generally speaking, public accounting covers a wide variety of accounting, auditing, tax, and consulting duties performed for enterprises of all sizes (large and small), non-profit organizations, governments, and people. Most of these activities may be performed by any competent public accountant; however, a certified public accountant (CPA) can do two jobs that an accountant who does not hold a CPA license cannot perform:

Prepare financial statements that have been audited or examined and file a report with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) (SEC). All publicly traded firms are required to file audited financial statements with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Clients are represented in front of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Although not a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), a non-CPA who is also an attorney, registered representative, registered retirement plan representative, or registered actuary can also represent clients.

Aside from that, most jurisdictions restrict non-CPA ownership of CPA companies to 49 percent; however, a few states (New York and Delaware, for example) mandate that CPA firms be held entirely by CPAs.

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CPA Firms – What Does a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Do When Working for an Accounting Firm?

CPAs that work for CPA companies are generally assigned to one of three areas:

Tax preparation and filing services: These services include preparing and submitting federal, state, and local tax returns, as well as working with companies and individuals throughout the year to reduce their tax responsibilities. In the event of an IRS audit or queries from state and local tax authorities, a CPA firm can represent its clients in these situations.

Services in the area of auditing and assurance: Services in the assurance field are independent professional services that aim to enhance the quality or context of financial and non-financial information for the benefit of decision makers. Auditing is the objective assessment of financial and economic information to ensure that it is true and complies with established standards such as generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) (GAAP).

Management services: These services aid in the supervision and management of an organization’s or an individual’s day-to-day operations and the development of strategic and long-range plans for the company or individual. Cash management, budgeting, and financial planning are examples of such services, as is the preparation of financial statements, insurance coordination and risk management, investment counseling, and estate planning.

CPAs in a Variety of Other Work Environments

Many organizations, preeminent corporations, are also on the lookout for CPAs to fill accounting jobs, particularly at the upper levels and in management positions. Finance, management accounting, tax accounting, and internal auditing are just a few of the fields in which CPAs might find employment.

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