Certified public accountants (CPA) are one of the most respected professionals in the business world. Any business that does not have a certified public accountant on their payroll is making a critical error that will hinder progress. Having a CPA to organize and balance financial records and processes, will provide any business maximum performance and profit. However, certified public accountants usually come at a premium, as these professionals need to complete certain standardized requirements and training. When hiring a CPA, one must be knowledgeable on the qualifications and training these professionals undergo to ensure that the candidate is a good fit to the organization.
Qualifications and Training
The qualifications and training needed for a person to become a certified public accountant may vary depending on a country’s licensing regulations. Typically, a diploma or degree in accounting, finance, or management is a requirement in most countries. In the United States of America, a candidate is required to have completed a minimum of 150 college hours specializing in an accounting program and must pass a standardized CPA exam prepared and administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). On the other hand, in the United Kingdom, a person can start a career in accountancy even without a specialized background in accounting. Certification can be achieved, through time, training programs, and assessments, via registration in any of the 6 accounting organizations based in the UK. The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) and the internationally recognized Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) are 2 of the most popular societies that can put a person wanting to be a certified chartered accountant on the right track. Most countries will require formal training in accountancy, passing of licensure exams, and accreditation to the local accountancy bodies and societies.
Aside from these country-based licensing regulations and accreditations, a certified public accountant must also be trained in various accounting software as most businesses and accounting firms will require advance knowledge in these. MYOB is usually the international standard in accounting software, which a CPA must be knowledgeable in. A public accountant must also be well versed in Microsoft Office Excel software as this is widely used in business.
English fluency and Math skills training is also a major plus factor in most companies and accounting firms. These skills, although not a necessity, can greatly assist an aspiring certified public accountant. Continued accounting education and training, even after certification, is very much encouraged as well.
Services of a Certified Public Accountant
Once a person completes the necessary requirements and training and becomes a certified public accountant, the CPA can now provide various accounting and financial services to individuals or businesses as a freelancer or through an accounting firm. Payroll services, financial accounting and auditing, tax return preparation and tax deduction solutions, and cash flow management are just some of the most common services a CPA can help businesses with. In fact, a business with a good CPA providing these services will surely maximize business performance, revenue, and profit while greatly avoiding legal violations and scandals.
A certified public accountant can be hired on a regular retainer or on a contractual basis. Nevertheless, a CPA is a vital cog and a “must-have” in any business. Having an expert in numbers and money in the team can provide that something extra to increase the stability and profitability of any business.