Important Terms Associated with Certified Public Accountants
A Certified Public Accountant provides a wide range of finance-related services to businesses and the public. Some are generalists, while others specialize in certain aspects of accounting, such as bankruptcy or income tax preparation. For that reason, there’s a good chance you will eventually have dealings with a Certified Public Accountant, and there are a few terms and concepts with which you should be familiar.
CPA – A Certified Public Accountant. This is a professional accountant who has passed the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination (often called the Uniform CPA Exam). They must also meet other stringent standards that vary by state; generally, they must have a bachelor’s degree and a certain amount of on-the-job experience. CPAs can work for firms or run their own business.
Bookkeeping – Recording the day-to-day financial transactions of a business. Despite what many people think, a bookkeeper is not the same as an accountant. An accountant typically has more advanced training and knowledge than someone whose duties are restricted to bookkeeping. Small businesses often employ bookkeepers, whose salaries are generally lower; CPAs are more often found in the corporate sector, where their expertise is often required.
Forensic Accountant – Specialists in accounting as it pertains to legal disputes, frequently relating to financial fraud. They are employed in civil or criminal cases, and are often called upon to provide expert testimony for court trials.
Estate Planning – Preparing to transfer one’s assets to another party. CPAs are often employed to help prepare wills, including “living wills,” and calculate estate taxes.
Audit – Reviewing and verifying the accuracy of an individual’s or institution’s financial records.
Income Tax Preparation – Filling out and filing tax returns. CPAs are usually well versed in the intricacies of tax law, and their expertise in this area can prevent a lot of trouble.
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Certified public accountants play an important role in the financial life of businesses as well as individuals. They perform a number of services from tax preparation to bookkeeping. Hiring a financial expert ensures the long term success of your personal finances or company. These professionals are able to offer objective advice using expertise those individuals and busy owners are unable to acquire.
Individuals, government agencies, and businesses employ CPAs to make sure that their finance practices are up to par. Accountants use their meticulous bookkeeping skills to prepare tax returns. They make sure that all current standards and codes are being followed. They also used records to prepare accurate financial statements and budget analysis. Individuals may employ accounting services yearly or may use them regularly for advice in planning their financial futures. Businesses seek the skills of accountants when they are considering major purchases or other acquisitions.
CPAs also review internal financial systems to guard against embezzlement and fraud. They may make recommendations to small business owners regarding technologies that will help their organizations run more efficiently. They assess which parts of a business are profitable and which need improvement. They also can serve as forensic accountants that determine the source of the problem when losses have occurred. They can also offer solutions to determine that problems do not arise in the future.
Certified public accountant firms are staffed with a variety of certified professionals. Special certifications may be held in estate planning, bankruptcy recovery, or tax preparation. Corporate, individual, and small businesses benefit from consultations with these financial firms.