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What is a CPA?

Everyone knows about CPAs, right? Although you may often hear friends talk about meeting with their CPAs at tax time or when they need critical business advice, in fact many people are not really aware of what it means to be a certified public accountant.

You can rely on CPAs to help address all your financial needs. Not only are CPAs the best professionals to turn to at tax time, but they also offer many other types of services, including accounting, auditing, personal financial planning, technology consulting and business valuation.

What does it take to become a CPA? These respected professionals must pass a rigorous exam and meet other high standards that they are required to maintain throughout their careers in order to call themselves CPAs. The Uniform CPA Examination is a crucial first step to becoming a CPA. This demanding test measures prospective CPAs’ knowledge about a range of technical and business issues. The CPA exam is not the last step in a CPA’s education, however. These professionals are also required to meet continuing education requirements every year to ensure that they stay up-to-date on all the latest business developments. State boards of accountancy also set their own additional mandates for licensure, including education, ethical and work experience requirements.  

When you are looking for financial advice, keep in mind that not all accountants are CPAs. Many states allow anyone to use the title “accountant,” but only CPAs have passed the CPA exam and meet their state board of accountancy’s licensing requirements. CPAs are also the only professionals who can perform audits of publicly traded companies. If you are seeking the services of a highly trained professional, make sure they have the “CPA” initials after their name.

Why should the CPA designation be so important to you? When you seek help with your most pressing financial concerns, you want to know that the person you are consulting is someone you can trust. The demanding requirements to get and keep a CPA license ensure that you are dealing with someone who meets a high standard of competency and integrity.

You can also be sure that CPAs have experience in dealing with people who have financial questions just like your own. CPAs not only have intensive training, but they also have the practical knowledge necessary to find solutions for both business and individual clients in their communities. They have hands-on experience working with clients facing a large variety of financial challenges or opportunities. Remember, too, that despite their highly technical training, they still speak your language. They will listen to your concerns and offer solutions you can understand.

Want to learn more about these professionals? Why not make an appointment to visit your local CPA today. He or she can explain how CPAs can help you achieve your financial goals.