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Difference between CPA and Accountant

Difference between CPA and Accountant

When looking for an accountant, you may come across the term CPA (Certified Public Accountant). So, what is the difference between a CPA and an accountant? A CPA has met additional requirements including passing an exam and has demonstrated experience in accounting. CPAs often work in public accounting firms, providing auditing, assurance, and consulting services.

What is CPA?

CPA stands for Certified Public Accountant. A CPA is a professional who provides financial services to businesses and individuals. CPAs are licensed by the state in which they practice. In order to become a CPA, an individual must pass the CPA Exam, which is administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). The CPA Exam is a two-day exam that covers four areas: auditing, business environment, and concepts, financial accounting and reporting, and regulation.

The CPA Exam is considered to be one of the most challenging professional exams, with a pass rate of about 50%. Once an individual passes the CPA Exam, he or she must then complete 150 credit hours of college coursework and 1 year of professional experience before becoming certified. Certification is valid for 5 years and can be renewed by completing continuing education requirements. CPAs are required to uphold the highest standards of ethical conduct and are subject to disciplinary action if they violate the profession’s code of conduct.

What is Accountant?

Accountants are responsible for maintaining and auditing financial records. They compile financial statements, prepare tax returns, and ensure that financial laws and regulations are followed. Accountants also offer advice on financial planning and budgeting. In order to become an accountant, one must earn a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field. Accountants must be detail-oriented, organized, and able to work independently. They must also have strong math and writing skills.

Difference between CPA and Accountant

CPA and Accountant are two professional titles that are often used interchangeably, but there are some key differences between the two. A CPA, or Certified Public Accountant, is a licensed professional who has passed a rigorous exam and met all other requirements set by their state. CPAs are able to provide a wide range of services, including auditing, tax preparation, and financial planning.

An accountant is not necessarily a CPA but may have similar education and experience. In general, an accountant provides bookkeeping and other financial services to individuals or businesses. While both CPAs and accountants provide valuable services, only a CPA is licensed to perform audits or provide other specific services. As such, clients seeking these services should always seek out a CPA.


While there are some similarities between CPAs and accountants, there are also key differences. If you’re looking for someone to help you with your financial planning and tax preparations, it’s important to understand the distinctions between these two professions. CPA firms typically have more comprehensive services than accounting practices and may be better equipped to handle complex financial issues.

However, accountants can often provide more cost-effective services for small businesses and individuals. So how do you know which is right for you? The best way to decide is to consult with several professionals and ask them about their areas of expertise and experience.

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