What Does a CPA Do?

Certified Public Accountant

What is a CPA? A CPA (certified public accountant) is a trusted financial adviser who has passed the rigorous CPA Exam, met work experience requirements, and takes continuing professional education courses to maintain the CPA certification.

These additional requirements for licensure ensure CPAs maintain the highest standard of knowledge and ethics when operating in financial positions. They act as:

  • Auditors
  • Business advisers
  • Decision makers
  • Tax consultants
  • Accounting consultants
  • And much more to both individuals and businesses.
The following are some of the positions CPAs hold: 

Tax and Financial Planning

CPAs help individuals and companies with financial planning, investments, taxes, mergers and acquisitions, and much more.

Consulting Services

Individuals, businesses, financial institutions, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies need CPAs to offer objective advice and assistance in both financial and strategic areas.

Assurance Services

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.

Forensic Accounting

Also known as investigative accounting or fraud auditing, forensic accounting digs into the accounting records, searching for evidence of criminal misconduct.

Information Technology (IT) Services

Exploding IT growth has created huge opportunities for CPAs with strong computer and data security skills to design and implement advanced systems to fit an organization's needs.

International Accounting

In today's global economy, CPAs with an understanding and mastery of international trade laws and regulations are in great demand.

Environmental Accounting

With increasing resources focused on environmental issues, these CPAs conduct compliance audits and design preventive systems to ensure compliance.

This information is published courtesy of the AICPA's "Takin' Care of Business" brochure.

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