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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 ?
Educational institutions and individual governments can cooperate with their respective licensing authorities by harmonizing accounting curriculums as well as by enacting legislation to regulate the public accounting profession in light of recommendations made by various licensing authorities.
Because SEC regulations limit the type of work public accounting firms can do for their audit clients, CAOs are under more pressure to stay current.
For more data from the supply and demand study, see this month's public accounting or education supplements (access instructions are on page 2), or download the full report from www.
Interestingly, after the sale to Aspen, they retained a data service aimed at the public accounting industry, a database which tracks changes in the auditors serving public companies.
A public accounting firm includes a non-competition agreement in an employment contract to protect the firm from losing clients.
Stein has been named managing partner ofGrant Thornton, a national public accounting firm.
The decision to use public accounting firms for assistance with tax matters, as reported in Table 27, was made by the CTO at 79 percent of responding firms.
About GLO CPAs, LLP - Established in 1981, GLO CPAs, LLP is one of Houston's leading certified public accounting and advisory firms.
We are very pleased to recognize this distinguished group of public accounting professionals, whose commitment to the profession and mastery of their craft have earned them this significant and prestigious honor," says Paul Witte, Executive Director of NAPAP.
Much of the impetus for opening up the practice of public accounting in Canadian jurisdictions to qualified CMAs and CGAs, in addition to CAs, is the result of the interpretation of the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT), legislation enacted by Ottawa in 1995 to limit trade restrictions between Canadian jurisdictions.
It's no surprise then, that public accounting firms, public and private companies, as well as regulatory agencies, are concerned with hiring the right people--with "right" defined as qualified, in terms of training.