CPA means Certified Public Accountant and this is a designation, which is offered to eligible accountants who clear the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination conducted by the United States. Along with this, the accountants must also posses the required state educational qualification and experience. The CPA license provided to the candidates, who clear this exam, protects the general public from inefficient accountants who perform substandard work. The first law of accountancy was passed the year 1896 by the New York state law, in order to test the credentials of the accountants. After this law was passed accounting evolved as a profession and was tagged with the licensing requirements and this profession followed with some professional ethics and certain working standards.
Many states followed this lead and ultimately fifty-four jurisdictions accepted the public law accounting legislation. The licensing authority solely lies in the hands of the Board of Accountancy as well as for compliance with the state laws. Most of the accountants practicing in the US hold the CPA license and those practicing without it are prohibited. As a result in most of the cases the CPA certification was not allowed to be used outside the state until professionally licensed or certified by that particular state.
How to become a CPA in United States?
To become a CPA in the United States you have to take and clear the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants sets the examination rules and the National Association of State Board of Accountancy administers this test. Individual boards have their own eligibility criteria for the Uniform Public Accountant Examination. A candidate with a Bachelors degree in accounting along with an additional one-year study is eligible to take up this exam.
Certified Public Accountants work in various financial areas such as:
. Audit, assurance and information integrity
. Forensic accounting like detecting, preventing and investigating frauds related to finance
. Planning and analyzing all the financial status
. Venture Capital
. Information technology
. Plans and prepares taxes
. Corporate governance
Due to frequent fluctuation in the nature of work, it is very essential for a CPA to keep abreast with all the latest developments in the accountancy field, even if the changes are very small or the old or new laws amended to reflect changes. Any ignorance is this matter is not appreciated. CPAs should also be aware of the various tasks including the finance, taxation, planning and the advisory rules. So in order to create a benchmark for yourself, it is necessary to opt for ongoing educational courses.
There are various educational institutions including some non-profitable sectors that offer ongoing professional courses for the CPAs. In many states a professional CPA licensure is required to take professional education regularly to keep him or her updated. A CPA is generally required to take some time off from his busy schedule so that he can take up new courses. These continuous educational updating courses can also take the form of conferences as well as seminars. These are generally headed by professional or by popular speakers who share their experiences, knowledge as well as skills.