You’re trying to find an accountant for your business, and you’re confused. A quick internet search for accountants near you confused you more, rather than pairing you up with the attorney that you need! Now, you’re confused and trying to figure out what a CPA is, how it’s like an accountant, and what the difference between a CPA and an accountant is. To someone who has never heard the term CPA before, it can seem confusing. And hiring an accountant(or CPA) for your business is a daunting task, already, without the added confusion trying to decide between the two.
Licensing and Training
One of the biggest differences between a CPA and an accountant, is the necessary licensing and training that a CPA has to go through that an accountant does not. All CPAs are accountants, but not all accountants are CPAs. CPA stands for Certified Public Accountant. That definition alone probably helped clear up some of your questions. Yes, a CPA is indeed an accountant. But they’re an accountant that was required to meet certain state and education licensing requirements, that a regular accountant would not be required to meet. They’re also required to pass a special CPA exam.
A CPA will pass rigorous testing before they can begin practicing as a CPA. They are required to complete 150 hours of additional coursework, and then an additional year of apprentice work under a qualified CPA. And then they can take their CPA qualification test. After all of this, they’re required to continue taking classes and stay up to date on coursework and applicable information. All of this is to say, a CPA is highly qualified to handle anything you give them.
Code of ethics
In addition to all of the above, all CPAs are required to adhere to a specific code of ethics. Going to a CPA is kind of like a guarantee that you’ll be well taken care of.
CPAs are considered to be the top advisors within the business world. Most small business owners say they rely on their CPA more than anyone else for business advice and help running their business. And there are a few things that only CPAs can do, that a regular accountant simply cannot. Things like performing a financial statement audit, as well as representing you to the IRS in the occasion that the IRS audits you. The benefit of having a CPA from the beginning, in a situation like this, is that they already know you and your situation, rather than a stranger coming in and representing you even though they don’t know anything about you.