What Is a Certified Public Accountant?

Perhaps you already know what accounting entails. Generally speaking, it involves maintaining the general ledger of a business or organization, preparing financial statements, and performing tax work for individuals and/or businesses. Anyone who provides such services, whether as the employee of a company or as an independent contractor, can be considered an accountant.

However, an accountant can only use the designation of a certified public accountant after he or she has earned the credential from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. When you work with a CPA, you know that the person you’re working with has met or exceeded certain professional standards of experience, education, and ethics.

What Is Involved in Becoming a CPA?

Before a person can become a CPA, there are three different accomplishments he or she has to attain:

  • Education: Earning a bachelor’s degree or better in accounting, business administration, or finance
  • Experience: Working as a public accountant for two years or more
  • Exam: Passing score on the Uniform CPA Examination

The Uniform CPA Examination is intentionally challenging to ensure that only the most qualified candidates pass.

Upon becoming a CPA, continuing education is necessary to maintain the credential. A certified public accountant has to take continuing education classes on an annual basis and earn a certain number of credits every year.

As CPAs, we are expected to adhere to a code of ethics that governs our professional behavior. The code is issued by the AICPA and undergoes constant revision, but it basically identifies acts that are discreditable to our profession, as well as outlining responsibilities to clients and establishing standards for objectivity and integrity.

What Does a CPA Do?

CPAs can serve a wide range of clients, including businesses, non-profit organizations, governments, or individuals. However, at KMA Bodilly, most of our focus is on business accounting, which means that our services fall into four main categories:

  • Accounting
  • Attestation
  • Consulting
  • Tax Services

At KMA, we often function for our clients in much the same way that an in-house Chief Financial Officer would, handling day-to-day operational tasks like filing payroll taxes, monitoring cash flow, providing monthly reports, and preparing financial statements. We provide dependable attestation services to give accurate reports of financial data to state and federal entities, as well as key stakeholders. As consultants, we guide our clients in regard to strategic planning, business valuation, and business succession planning, and we can help to plan and prepare your taxes so that you pay as little as possible while adhering to applicable tax laws. This is just a brief overview of the services we provide at KMA. Contact us today, and we can explain the options available to you in more detail.

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