An accountant is one who is skilled in keeping accounts and books of accounts correctly and properly. An accountant makes the keeping or examination of accounts his/her profession[i]. Accountants design and control systems of accounts required for records of various transactions of business, trade, and finance. Different types of accountants are; auditors, forensic accountants, public accountants, tax professionals, financial advisors and consultants.
In Jaeger Mfg. Co. v. Maryland Casualty Co., 231 Iowa 151 (Iowa 1941) the court held that the duties of a bookkeeper and an accountant are different. The court observed that, one who comes to the offices of a company for auditing and balancing books, reconciling bank account, and who prepares the income tax returns of the company, performs the functions of an accountant.
Similarly a public accountant and a certified public accountant are different[ii]. A public accountant is one who does accounting or auditing service. A certified public accountant is one who has received a certificate qualifying the person to practice as a certified public accountant.
In Fla. Accountants Asso v. Dandelake, 98 So. 2d 323 (Fla. 1957), the court held that the persons engaged in the practice of public accounting include, individuals who holds themselves out to the public as; skilled in knowledge, science and practice of accounting; or who maintains an office for the transaction of business as a public accountant; or who practices accounting for more than one employer.
[i] United States ex rel. Liebmann v. Flynn, 16 F.2d 1006 (D.N.Y. 1926)
[ii] Fla. Accountants Asso v. Dandelake, 98 So. 2d 323 (Fla. 1957)