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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 ?
CPAJ: The IESBA develops and issues the "Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants," which establishes ethical requirements for professional accountants.
Professional accountants should apply the code incrementally, which means they are required to be familiar with all the provisions in the code to determine which ones best apply to the specific situation.
"Kenya's government particularly needs the expertise provided by professional accountants in designing tax strategies, and optimising, and managing fluctuations in, tax revenues" continued McGhee.
At ACCA, we deliver public value by offering access to anyone who wants to become a professional accountant free from artificial barriers.
A Panel Discussion was held on the theme of 'Challenges and Opportunities for Professional Accountants'.
If, as professional accountants, we believe our skills, experi- ence and knowledge can help improve the management of the nation's finances, we have a clear duty to act in the public inter- est to promote this to our policy-makers.
A team of professional accountants can definitely help you with that.
'"Business as usual' is no longer sustainable-if business ignores the Goals, they do so at their own peril," noted Charles Tilley, chair of the IFAC Professional Accountants in Business Committee, which contributed to the report along with the IFAC Professional Accountancy Organization Development Committee.
Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) said it supports the National Strategy for Financial Literacy revealed by Jane Rooney, Canada's financial literacy leader and Minister of State (Finance), Kevin Sorenson.
The Chartered Professional Accountants and Public Accounting Act (Bill No.
The Chairman of Professional Accountants in Business Committee (IFAC) and Chief Executive Officer, CIMA, Charles Tilley dilated upon the challenges which face finance professionals in the performance of their strategic, operational and reporting roles.
According to a national survey conducted for the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada), a significant number of respondents, aged 55 and older, find managing their personal finances a challenge.

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