CPA stands for certified public accountant. CPAs are certified by their state following a rigorous academic program encompassing accounting, audit, business, ethics and other topics. They must take a four part exam with a national pass rate of about 50%, and they must undergo on average (requirements vary slightly by state) 2,000 hours of supervised work experience by another CPA...all before they get their license. Once certified, a CPA must maintain their skills by undertaking on average 40 hours of continuing professional education each year of their professional life. This ensures they are up to date on tax and regulatory changes which could impact their clients, helps them to develop deep expertise within specialized service areas and gives them a level of business acumen that allows them to be ideal advisors to their clients.
CPAs are the only profession which is authorized to provide assurance services to ensure the public trust, and they take that responsibility seriously. CPAs serve individuals, businesses of all types and sizes, nonprofits, governments, they do work as accountants, but also do much more.
In addition to traditional audit services, such as examining the annual reports of public companies, exciting niche areas of assurance have increased the demand for the expertise of CPAs.
Individuals, businesses, financial institutions, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies need CPAs to offer objective advice and assistance in both financial and strategic areas.
Information Technology (IT) Services
Exploding IT growth has created huge opportunities for CPAs with strong computer skills to design and implement advanced systems to fit an organization's needs.
Also known as investigative accounting or fraud auditing, forensic accounting digs below accounting records, searching for evidence of criminal misconduct.
With increasing resources focused on environmental issues, these CPAs conduct compliance audits and design preventive systems to ensure compliance.
In today's global economy, CPAs with an understanding and mastery of international trade laws and regulations are in great demand.
Tax and Financial Planning
CPAs help individuals and companies with financial planning, investments, taxes, mergers and acquisitions, and much more.
This information shared from AICPA's Taking Care of Business Brochure