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What Is The Difference Between A CPA And A Public Accountant?

CPA vs Public Accountant

Certified public accountants(CPAs) and public accountants render similar accounting services like auditing, bookkeeping, etc.

But there is a lot of confusion among people when it comes to the differences between CPAs and public accountants. One is often mistaken for another. 

While both occupations involve basic tasks of accounting and auditing, there are some key distinctions in their expertise.

So we had a chat with Adam Valdez, A CPA in San Antonio, Tx to help clear out the exact role and responsibility of these two accountants and what sets them apart. So let’s dive in.

CPA vs Public Accountants

1. Who they Are

Certified public accountants (CPAs) are licensed by the states in which they practice. To become a CPA, one must pass the Uniform CPA Examination, which is administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). The AICPA also sets ethical standards for the profession. Public accountants may or may not have a CPA license; however, they have similar education and experience as CPAs. They usually have a bachelor’s degree in finance or experience in accounting.

2. What they Do

A CPA performs a wide range of financial and tax services for their clients including audits, bookkeeping, business advisory, real estate planning, payroll management, etc. He may also play the role of a business partner or tax advisor to their clients.

A public accountant on the other hand handles tax preparation, does budgeting, conducts internal audits, reviews financial papers, and provides financial advice to their clients.

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3. What’s their Expertise

While all public accountants offer some assurance to their clients, only CPAs are regulated by state boards and held to profession-specific ethical standards. In addition, CPAs possess greater technical expertise due to their rigorous CPA licensing requirements, which include passing a comprehensive exam. Finally, CPAs work in a wider variety of accounting settings than other public accountants. Public accountants have great expertise in taxation and organic financial books.

4. Exclusivity rights

Only a CPA has the authority to sign your tax forms or perform an IRS audit. While public accountants may have similar knowledge, they do not have the license or authority to sign such important forms required by the IRS. This gives a CPA a huge edge over normal public accountants.

Whom Should You Hire?

Whether you are a businessman looking for a professional to handle your business finances or an individual looking for financial advice, choosing the right accountant can help you stay on top of finances.

While both CPAs and accountants have similar education and experience in financial domains, a CPA always wins the debate. Public accountants usually work under CPAs as they lack certain authorities.

So if you are looking to hire a professional to take care of all your finances, hiring a CPA is a wise choice. Adam Valdez CPA provides a range of services to small and large businesses including bookkeeping services in San Antonio.

The family has been into accounting services for three generations and offers a personalized service to all their clients. So call their office today or visit their website to schedule a consultation with Adam Valdez.

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