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A person who has the requisite skill and experience in establishing and maintaining accurate financial records for an individual or a business. The duties of an accountant may include designing and controlling systems of records, auditing books, and preparing financial statements. An accountant may give tax advice and prepare tax returns.

A public accountant renders accounting or auditing services for a number of employees, each of whom pays the accountant a fee for services rendered. He or she does more than just bookkeeping but does not generally have all the qualifications of a certified public accountant.

A certified public accountant is one who has earned a license in his or her state that attests to a high degree of skill, training, and experience. In addition to passing an accounting examination, a candidate must have the proper business experience, education, and moral character in order to qualify for the license. The letters CPA are commonly used and generally recognized to be the abbreviation for the title Certified Public Accountant.

The practice of accounting is a highly skilled and technical profession that affects public welfare. It is entirely appropriate for the state to regulate the profession by means of a licensing system for accountants. Some states do not permit anyone to practice accounting except certified public accountants, but other states use the title to recognize the more distinguished skills of a CPA while permitting others to practice as public accountants. All states limit the use of the title and the initials to those who are licensed as certified public accountants.

All accountants are held to high standards of skill in issuing professional opinions. They can be sued for Malpractice if performance of their duties falls below standards for the profession.


noun bookkeeper, calculator, certified public accountant, chartered accountant, clerk, reckoner, recorder, registrar, statistician
See also: comptroller

ACCOUNTANT. This word has several significations: 1. One who is versed in accounts; 2. A person or officer appointed to keep the accounts of a public company; 3. He who renders to another or to a court a just and detailed statement of the administration of property which he holds as trustee, executor, administrator or guardian. Vide 16 Vin. Ab. 155.

References in periodicals archive ?
A professional accountant should observe the technical and professional standards stated form the following institutions to be in accordance with the ethical issues [3].
The professional accountant renders competent services to the client with enthusiasm and a genuine interest for the client's well being.
Its mission is to set high-quality ethical standards for professional accountants and facilitate the convergence of international and national ethical standards, including auditor independence requirements, through the development of a robust, internationally appropriate code of ethics.
The accounting profession continues to thrive; there is one professional accountant for every 294 American workers in 1960, but by 1970, there is one for every 197 workers.
In addition, it released a new information paper to clarify the roles and responsibilities of professional accountants in business, considered a revised constitution to continue to strengthen its governance, and appointed six new Board members.
Click on Professional Accountants in Business on the left side of the page, and scroll down the list of papers until you see Information Papers.
The Code explains that professional accountants must respect the confidentiality of their client's or employer's affairs except in rare instances and doesn't give specifics as to what they are.
Consequently, the most important IESBA strategy to continue to reinforce public trust is to promote the recognition and widespread adoption of the IESBA Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants throughout the world.
Students and members of ICMA Pakistan will benefit from the global recognition of ACCA and access to international job market of professional accountants, whereas ACCA students and members in Pakistan will be able to develop skills which are more technically aligned with local corporate and tax legislation.
We appreciate CIMA's and the AICPA's support for the congress's goals of fostering global unity and collegiality among professional accountants.

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