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What’s The Difference Between a CPA and an Accountant?

There are many titles for financial professionals, each with their unique qualifications. Two of the most common titles are ‘Accountant’ and ‘Certified Public Accountant (CPA).’ To help you understand these roles, our team at SD Associates, P.C. has compiled a clear breakdown of the differences between accountants and CPAs.

Understanding an Accountant’s Role

An accountant is a broad term that applies to a professional in the field of managing financial accounts. Their role typically involves keeping financial records, performing audits, preparing financial reports, and ensuring compliance with regulations. They can work in diverse sectors including private businesses, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and public accounting firms.

Accountants can hold a variety of degrees, but most have at least a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting. While certification is not always required for accountants, many choose to pursue certifications like the Certified Management Accountant (CMA).

What Does a CPA Do?

A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is an accountant who has met specific state and national requirements and passed the Uniform CPA Examination. CPAs may be able to perform a broader range of tasks or offer more specialized services.

CPAs work in various sectors, such as public accounting, business, government, and non-profit organizations. They are often sought after for their expertise in complex tax and financial matters.

Key Differences between an Accountant and a CPA

The main difference between an accountant and a CPA lies in their level of certification. While both accountants and CPAs deal with financial matters, a CPA has met specific education and experience requirements. They have also passed a rigorous examination, giving them a broader range of professional capabilities.

However, it’s important to note that this doesn’t mean that one is inherently better than the other. The choice between an accountant and a CPA will depend on your specific needs. If your business requires complex auditing or representation before the IRS, you might need the services of a CPA. However, for routine financial management, tax preparation, and advising, an accountant may be perfectly suitable.

Contact SD Associates, P.C. Today!

At SD Associates, P.C., we have both accountants and CPAs ready to assist you. Our financial professionals have years of experience in the industry, and we’re ready to put it to work for you. Contact us at (215) 517-5600 to discuss your specific requirements and learn how our team can best serve you!