Updated July 24, 2015
What is a CPA Chicago Illinois
Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is the statutory title of qualified accountants in the U.S. who have passed the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination and have met additional state education and experience requirements for certification as a CPA. Individuals who have passed the exam but have not either accomplished the required on-the-job experience or have previously met it but in the meantime have lapsed their continuing professional education are, in many states, permitted the designation “CPA Inactive” or an equivalent phrase. In most U.S. states, only CPAs who are licensed are able to provide to the public attestation (including auditing) opinions on financial statements.
The primary functions a CPA fulfills relate to assurance services, or public accounting. In assurance services, also known as audit services, CPAs attest to the reasonableness of disclosures, the freedom from material misstatement, and the adherence to the applicable generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) in financial statements. CPAs can also be employed by corporations in finance functions such as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) or finance manager, or as CEOs subject to their full business knowledge and practice.
Although some CPAs serve as business consultants, the consulting role is under scrutiny following the corporate climate in the aftermath of the Enron scandal. This has resulted in divestitures in the consulting divisions by many accounting firms. This trend has since reversed. In audit engagements, CPAs are (and have always been) required by professional standards and Federal and State laws to maintain independence (both in fact and in appearance) from the entity for which they are conducting an attestation (audit and review) engagement. However, most individual CPAs who work as consultants do not work as auditors.
CPAs also have a niche within the income tax preparation industry. Many small to mid-sized firms have both a tax and an auditing department.
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Chris Amundson is the President of Accounting Solutions Ltd., a full service public accounting firm of Certified Public Accountants and Enrolled Agents handling the bookkeeping, accounting, tax preparation, and audit representation needs of Businesses, Estates, Trusts, and Upper Income Individuals.