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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 ?
It was discussed at the launch event that to behave ethically and instill trust in a digital age, professional accountants will need to learn new information relatively quickly, and to apply their judgment to this information, often in situations they may not have seen before.
Fortunately, it is this author's belief that professional accountants do not generally need to make that assessment, and indeed they are not in a position to do so.
Integrity: A professional accountant should be honest in doing his professional services.
If you aspire to be a professional accountant you've got to take that extra step into the world of professionalism through education, examination and adherence to the professional ethics and standards of the profession.
The disclosure required under the ED is of "suspected illegal acts," including fraud, and it must be made after a professional accountant confirms a reasonable suspicion that an illegal act has occurred, informs the proper level of management about it, and takes reasonable steps to assess management's reaction to resolve the issue.
3--professional competence and du care: Professional accountant should perform the service that it is possible to afford.
This is on early instance of the federal government's use of professional accountants as official advisers.
As part of this effort, IFAC's Professional Accountants in Business (PAIB) Committee recently released The Roles and Domain of the Professional Accountant in Business, an "information paper" that defines these individuals and highlights the roles they play, including implementing and maintaining controls, providing analytical support for strategic planning and decision making, ensuring that effective risk management processes are in place, and assisting management in setting the tone for ethical practices.

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