Many people may ask, “What are the differences between being a CPA and just being a non-certified CPA,” there are actually a lot of differences between the two. A CPA or Certified Public Accountant is someone who has a license to practice public accounting that is issued by their State Board of Accountancy. CPA’s, in contrast, have normally studied or majored in accounting during college, sat for the CPA exam, worked in an accounting firm for at least two years, and completed 500 hours of auditing work in order to earn their certification. CPA’s are also required to complete a certain number of continuing education hours in order to keep their CPA license.
A CPA can complete all three types of financial statements including: audited, reviewed, and compiled. “Non-certified accountants can simply hang up their shingle and open their doors for business” (Day). For non-certified accounts there are no educational requirements, however, in order for them to prepare taxes most states require that they complete a certain number of hours of the study of accounting and also complete continuing education hours per year. Non-certified CPA’s can only complete the last type of financial statements which is complied.
The main question is how to choose whether to choose a CPA or non-certified CPA. “It has to do with the concept of free enterprise. Remember the old adage, Caveat Emptor? It means let the buyer beware” (Day). It is the client’s responsibility to choose the most qualified professional. Obviously, the auditing and review types of financial statements cost more than a complied one but some banks require a review of your books in order to receive a bank loan, so it would be in the clients best interest to have a CPA they trust already.
John Day. Theme: CPAs vs. Non-CPAs. 2008. Web. 27 November 2011. http://www.reallifeaccounting.com/pubs/Article_Theme_CPAs_vs_Non_CPAs.pdf
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