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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.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

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.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
It gives guidance by describing a process that either the auditor--and this is the more demanding process for the auditor--or the professional accountant in business have to follow when they become aware of noncompliance with laws and regulations.
Requirements are general and specific obligations imposed on the professional accountant to comply with the fundamental principles in that subject matter; they generally use the term shall.
Confidentiality: The professional accountant should consider the confidentiality of information in presenting the professional services and he shouldn't disclose such information without the permission of the client unless he is legally permitted to disclose it.
Just as a nation's adoption of IFRS produces financial statements that are accepted globally, harmonized education standards for professional accountants produces professional accountants that may practice globally.
The professional accountant renders competent services to the client with enthusiasm and a genuine interest for the client's well being.
There is also a need for professional accountants to attain and remain up to speed with digital skills, using it for their own development and training as well as supporting the growing number of businesses offering or using new technologies.
Unfortunately, ERPs are not prevalent in public sector and the major reason for this is the retaliation by old and unskilled staff and lack of youth along with experienced and qualified professional accountants. The main objectives of public sector accounting are: To determine the legitimacy of transactions and their compliance with the statues and accepted norms.
3--professional competence and du care: Professional accountant should perform the service that it is possible to afford.
Although auditors must comply with the specific standards adopted in each jurisdiction, familiarity with IFAC's International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (IESBA Code) in addition to the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct (AICPA Code) is a critical first step.
The highlights of the EH initiative include the reform of the educational and professional accountant qualification systems; regulation of the profession; globalization thrust; governance and ethics; stakeholders engagements; and various priority and special events.
ACCA has long-championed the importance of ethics as part of being a professional accountant.
The professional accountant of tomorrow will need to work just as hard at honing their interpersonal skills.

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