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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 ?
If you think it's wrong, seek advice immediately from a professionally qualified accountant or your citizen's advice.
The P&G trainee accountant undergraduate scheme is an innovative five year programme which combines practical work and study based learning, giving students leaving college at 18, a unique and alternative route to becoming a qualified accountant.
Mr Hook has been with Calthorpe Estates since June 2009 and is a qualified accountant, having trained at Deloitte.
Mr Litten, 48, is a qualified accountant and has a degree in business studies.
Name Paul Bittar Age 41 Birthplace Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia Profile Racing enthusiast and qualified accountant.
Those discouraged from applying for loans may see the chances of approval greatly increased if they consult a professional business advisor such as a qualified accountant and arm themselves with the kind of information that banks will take notice of.
As a qualified accounting technician Mr Jefferson has already gained some experience and hopes to build on that in his new role, to become a fully qualified accountant.
Diane Colley, a qualified accountant, and Dr David Derbyshire, a retired consultant anaesthetist, join the hospital trust as it continues to work towards achieving Foundation Trust Status.
A qualified accountant, Mr Renwick has worked in the trust since 2001 as director of finance and information and recently as acting chief executive.
But qualified accountant Brattbakk has admitted: "Copenhagen is a very exciting prospect and I'd have no problems settling into the club.
In 2011, Matthew, a qualified accountant, joined Fair Energy and brings in three years experience in the renewable energy industry and a further three years previous experience in the construction industry.

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