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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 ?
The growing demand for qualified accountants also means the availability of new jobs is now 22 per cent above this time last year, and 34 percent higher than when the Index was set in December 2009.
Martin Warnes, Managing Director of Reed said, "It is really striking to see that demand for qualified accountants has continued to rise in August, in contrast to the flat job demand experienced elsewhere across the economy.
Senior finance people and other qualified accountants in cities like Chelmsford or Cambridge can expect packages at the upper end of the range.
Two-thirds (67%) of employers say retention of qualified accountants will be a key priority in 2011.
As a broad rule, accounting technicians are more likely to be involved with the detailed, practical applications of day-to-day accounting issues than with the wider areas of financial management dealt with by professionally qualified accountants.
The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), the global body for professional accountants, has awarded Platinum-approved employer-level status certificate to KPMG, not only for the training support provided for student accountants but also for the professional development support it gives to qualified accountants, who must keep their skills and knowledge continuously updated, after qualifying.
You don't need to be a fully qualified accountant. Finance officers, for example, work to professionally qualified accountants and are part of a team that includes accountants, accounting technicians and accounting assistants (sometimes called finance clerks).
The workshop will give ACCA, CIMA and CIPFA qualified accountants in South Wales the opportunity to learn how, with five years' post-qualified experience, they could be eligible to add the ACA to their existing qualifications and become ICAEW members.
ONLY two per cent of staff at the Department of Finance are qualified accountants, it has emerged.
One Day Accountant Service expects to spend pounds 25,000 annually through the trade and financial Press, targeting qualified accountants as well as "accounting technicians" capable of performing general book-keeping and lower level accountancy tasks.
'Bermuda offers fantastic career and lifestyle prospects for qualified accountants.
The guidelines are intended to make it easier for qualified accountants to practice across international borders by providing a common approach to negotiating reciprocity arrangements.

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