The CPA certification advances the career of professional accountants. This certification allows accountants to practice certain types of work and is a requirement for some jobs, since it affects which job duties an accountant may perform. CPA certification also provides other intangible benefits such as networking opportunities.
CPA certification allows an accountant to become a partner in a CPA firm. From the largest firms -- the Big Four -- to a firm with a single accountant, the firm must still be under the ownership of certified public accountants to legally call itself a CPA firm. According to the CPA Journal, most states require majority ownership by CPAs for a CPA firm, and New York requires full ownership by CPAs. This is very important since the CPA firm will lose its license if the owners cannot prove that they hold current CPA licenses to the state board of accounting.
CPA certification is a requirement for career advancement. Employers will hire accountants without the CPA credential, but it is necessary to advance to partner and can be a requirement for other management positions. Some employers require job applicants to hold a CPA credential before applying for higher-level jobs. Accounting firms typically expect accountants to advance in their career, so a failure to achieve CPA certification after a certain amount of time can be cause for dismissal.
Professional Organization Membership
CPA certification affects the membership category in professional organizations. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants includes several categories such as current students, recent graduates and qualified and practicing CPAs. The CPA certification is necessary for regular membership, which allows benefits such as serving on the board of the organization and joining committees that decide accounting standards and regulations.
There are several accounting certifications, including other credentials such as the Certified Internal Auditor, the Certified Management Accountant and the Certified Information Systems Auditor, according to the University of Texas at Arlington. The Certified Public Accountant credential is most well-known to the public, and state and federal law allows holders specific privileges that are requirements for some jobs. For example, corporations must submit financial statements each year, and a CPA audits these statements to confirm their accuracy.
CPA licenses provide credibility for accountants in other career paths. Government regulators may hold this credential. CPAs can teach college classes. A CPA can provide other services at a CPA firm such as offering financial advice, investment guidance and retirement planning, and holding this certification provides additional credibility.
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