A professional accountant who acquires a license from the state is known as a CPA or a certified public accountant. Only after clearing a rigorous test, 14 hours long; which covers all related topics in business management and business laws, tax, accounting and auditing, a person is regarded as a CPA, if prior to this test that person successfully completes a minimum 150 hours of basic college education mastering business and accountancy. As the CPAs are from broad business backgrounds, they are regarded as the most suitable people for purposes of corporate accounting, auditing and business consultation.
In order to address strategic business issues for innovative business models, almost all the business firms are in constant need of professionals apt to integrate skills and knowledge from diverse sources. The professional accountants are highly skilled people with cutting-edge business acumen over and above having sound traditional accounting knowledge of various disciplines.
The chief functional areas of CPAs are assurance services and public accounting. However, a CPA working as a consultant does not prefer to work as an auditor. CPAs find a favorable place in the tax preparation domain as well. Every business firm has a tax and auditing department.
There is a broad range of services and activities performed by public accountants in auditing, accounting, tax, and consultation. CPAs have a broad client base that spans over individuals, government organizations, corporations and NPOs. You may even come across public accountants concentrating solely upon tax-related matters. They provide advisory service to many companies regarding the impact of taxations corresponding to certain business decisions and also prepare their income tax (IT) returns. The CPAs mostly prefer to work independently and many of them have their own accountancy firms.
CPAs also provide various write-up services such as maintaining credit, managing operations, and preparing payroll tax and IT returns. All these services have got significant contribution towards business management. The other write-up services the CPAs provide include calculating payroll tax to be deposited, preparing finance statements using data from trial balance sheet, creating a general ledger, and calculating depreciation for maintaining an asset register.
There are some CPAs offering services in areas of compensation and healthcare benefits. Some CPAs have particular interest for designing and developing various data processing systems for accounting purposes and give advices on how to select controls for protecting assets. Some CPAs are found to provide accounting services in the forensic department as well. Here, they combine the finance and accounting knowledge with the investigative laws and techniques to find the legality of certain activities.