A CPA is a certified public accountant licensed by the state to practice public accounting. CPAs are considered some of business' most trusted advisers, according to a recent survey conducted by the American Institute of CPAs. Achieving CPA status takes integrity, ethics, lifelong commitment and following specific regulations.
As the profession has evolved, the services that CPAs provide go beyond number crunching and preparing taxes. We have become financial and business strategists who help chart the course of individuals and businesses.
CPAs are subjected to the following specific standards and experiences:
Specific Licensing requirements. The CPA exam was developed in the early 1900s to ensure the competence of CPAs entering the field, just as the medical boards test doctors and the bar exam tests lawyers.
We must graduate with 150 hours of course credits from an accredited college or university before taking the CPA exam.
This exam is a grueling, two-day test of Auditing & Attestation, Financial Accounting & Reporting (business enterprises, not-for-profit organizations, and governmental entities), Regulation (professional responsibilities, business law, and taxation), and Business Environment & Conceptsauditing.
Specific work experience. We must complete at least two years of work experience in public accounting, internal auditing, or work under the direct supervision of a licensed CPA before taking the exam.
Specific continuing education requirements. After receiving the CPA designation, we must then complete 80 credits of continuing education every two years in order to maintain the CPA license.
Specific code of ethics . We are bound by a strict code of professional ethics in addition to education and licensing requirements.
Specific professional standards. We are also required to comply with professional standards in all services that we provide to the public.
Rigorous peer review Public accounting firms that perform attest functions are subject to mandatory peer review program requirements.