Accounting is an art of communicating financial information about a business entity to users. An accountant is a practitioner of accountancy. A company’s or individual’s financial reports are prepared by accountants according to the government and regulatory authority rules.
Public accountants come under the category of accountants. A public accountant is a general accountant who either works for an accounting firm, or has his/her own private practice. Public accountants’ daily tasks are of a wide range that includes auditing, tax and financial planning, and consulting and providing advice about compensation and benefits. Persons who have a private practice offer many services, including retirement planning, tax advice and preparation and asset management services.
Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is the statutory credential provided for qualified accountants in the U.S., for persons who have passed the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination. Additionally, they should meet state education and experience requirements for certification as a CPA. In most of the states, licensed CPAs are only supposed to provide opinions on financial statements to the public.
Some states have a lower tier of accountant qualification below CPA named Public Accountant (PA). However, now majority of states have closed offering the designation. An accountant is to meet the legal requirements of any state in which he wants to practice. Mostly, an out-of-state CPA is restricted from using the CPA designation until a license or certificate from that state is obtained.
CPAs perform functions of independent auditors, financial consultants and tax advisors. Their clients are corporations, governments, nonprofit organizations, or individuals. CPAs handle a wide range of duties concerning taxes and financial planning for individuals and business clients.
CPAs are also employed by federal, state and local government agencies. They are to ensure that these public institutions maintain financial regulations and abide by laws imposed. Individuals and businesses that received public funds are also monitored by government accountants. CPAs also help organizations and corporations to maintain and prepare tax and financial records. Internal auditor’s reports concerning inaccuracies, criminal activities and wasteful expenditures in the organization are also monitored by CPAs.
CPAs offer basic income tax preparation and advice individuals, small businesses and corporations regarding fiscal matters. CPAs can also be found performing basic business record keeping, auditing and consulting work. Another role CPAs can perform is that of a consultant. In this role, CPAs research a number of ways to save a corporation or business and develop financial plans that allow the business or corporation to look attractive to investors.