CPA is a person who has received a license to practice as a Certified Public Accountant, issued by any of the fifty U.S. States or one of its five territories that the U.S. has its jurisdiction over. This license is only valid at the State that issued it unless other States has Reciprocity Agreement with the State that issued it.
What does it take to become a CPA?
A person who applies for the CPA License will have to undergo a training in a registered CPA firm and get enrolled with an institution that conducts the classes for the course. The syllabus includes all accounting principles, taxation rules, auditing, etc. Once the applicant completes the course study and the training, they appear for the examination. The State Board issues the license if the person passes the examination.
How a CPA is different from an average Accountant?
In short, all CPAs can be Accountants but every Accountant cannot be a CPA. While financial statements, audit reports, Tax returns etc. prepared by a CPA are considered as authentic, the same prepared by an average accountant is not accepted as authentic.
What are the Responsibilities of a CPA?
In Public Sector:
- Accounts auditing to ensure the firm’s money is not misappropriated or stolen by any employee of the company and to have control on the day-to-day expenditures.
- Periodical stock auditing.
- To inspect and ensure the payment receivables goes to the firm’s account.
- To ensure the debts are paid back in time according to its terms and conditions.
- To prepare a statement of accounts and file the tax returns.
- To represent and advise the firm on any litigation etc.
- To prepare the financial planning and evaluate the net worth that is to be submitted to financiers.
In Industrial Sector:
- Overall management of the company including staff control with an emphasis on its financial strength.
- Assuming charge if appointed to an executive position.
- In case it is a company running at loss, it is his/her responsibility to lift that company into a profit making level.
- A CPA is expected to have all the knowledge on how to turn a loss-making business into a profit-making one.
- In Government service, the most sought after job is to become an official of the IRS, which a CPA can if s/he passes the necessary test conducted by the concerned department in the government.
- In the field of education as well, there are plenty of opportunities for experts and experienced trainers for the enrolled CPA applicants.
Every company needs a book-keeper who usually report to a CPA or an accountant. In any case, a licenced CPA possesses more knowledge and his/her decision is more valid than that of an accountant.There are plenty of career opportunities for the person who has the license of a Certified Public Accountant as many companies prefer a CPA over an accountant. In the U.S. and in some countries where they follow the U.S. accounting system, the NPA license is also gaining popularity.