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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 ?
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.
Most non-competition agreements written for employees of public accounting firms serving small to medium size business include the following key clauses: (1) non-compete clause, (2) severability clause, (3) remedies clause, (4) arbitration clause, and (5) trade secrets clause.
As expected, the larger the tax staff or the size of firm assets, the higher percentage of firms where the CTO made the decisions to use and select public accounting firms for assistance with tax matters.
Winners for the 2014 "Top 10 Public Accounting Professionals" award in other states will be announced between now and Dec.
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.
State accountancy boards had buttressed the professional status of public accounting with prohibitions against advertising and competitive bidding, as had the AICPA (through its predecessor organization founded in 1887) by adding similar language to its code of ethics.
Proposed Rule 3521 would treat registered public accounting firms as not independent of their audit clients if they enter into contingent fee arrangements with those clients.
Public accounting firms that audit the financial statements of "issuers" are reminded of the Oct.
CF&W), a full-service public accounting and business advisory firm, is pleased to announce that Jason Ferguson has been elected as managing partner of the firm.
com)-- Nationally recognized public accounting firm Morrison, Brown, Argiz & Farra, LLC (MBAF) has been ranked as the 37th largest public accounting firm in the nation according to INSIDE Public Accounting's (IPA) 2011 Top 100 List.