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What does a Certified Public Accountant do?

Learn all about Certified Public Accountant duties, skills and much more. Get expert advice on how to become a Certified Public Accountant.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 3 min read

A certified public accountant (CPA) is a professional who provides accounting, auditing, tax, and financial consulting services to individuals, businesses, and other organizations.

Certified Public Accountant job duties include:

  • Examines financial statements to ensure accuracy and compliance with laws and regulations
  • Analyzes financial records to recommend solutions to improve efficiency and effectiveness
  • Designs accounting systems and procedures
  • Coordinates and directs the work of accounting clerks and bookkeepers
  • Prepares tax returns and advises clients on tax planning strategies
  • Provides auditing services to businesses and government agencies
  • Investigates cases of suspected fraud
  • Testifies as an expert witness in court proceedings
  • Teaches accounting at the college level
  • Conducts research on current accounting issues

Certified Public Accountant Job Requirements

A certified public accountant (CPA) is a designation given to accounting professionals who have met certain requirements, including passing an exam and completing a certain amount of continuing education credits. CPAs are licensed by their state's board of accountancy and are subject to its rules and regulations. In order to become a CPA, one must first earn a bachelor's degree in accounting from an accredited college or university. Once the degree has been earned, the individual must then pass the Uniform CPA Examination, which is administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). After passing the exam, the individual must meet all other requirements set forth by their state's board of accountancy in order to be licensed.

Certified Public Accountant Skills

  • Analytical skills
  • Communication skills
  • Organizational skills
  • Research skills
  • Writing skills
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Time management skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Teamwork skills
  • Leadership skills

Related: Top Certified Public Accountant Skills: Definition and Examples

How to become a Certified Public Accountant

There are many steps to becoming a certified public accountant (CPA). The most important step is to pass the Uniform CPA Examination, which is administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Once you have passed the exam, you will need to meet the requirements of your state's Board of Accountancy. Each state has different requirements, but they typically include passing an ethics exam and completing a certain number of hours of accounting experience. Once you have met all the requirements, you will be issued a CPA license.

Becoming a CPA can open up many doors in your career. CPAs are in high demand and are often able to command higher salaries than non-certified accountants. They are also respected members of the business community and are often looked to for advice on financial matters. If you are interested in a career in accounting, becoming a CPA is a great way to set yourself apart from the competition.

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