By: Ashley Cossette, Sr. Audit Associate
ac·count·ant – əˈkount(ə)nt
So you have a degree in accounting, work for a public accounting firm, and your name ends in CPA – so you do taxes, right? Wrong. Knowing the difference in practice areas matters to you and your business – it can mean the difference between being profitable or not.
By the way, what is a CPA? All Certified Public Accountants (CPA) are accountants but not all accountants are CPA’s. CPA is a highly reputable designation that signifies the accountant has achieved a level of expertise beyond that of a standard accountant.
Business Advisory – Accountants that will help you put all the pieces of the business puzzle together and grow strategically.
Accounting and Bookkeeping – Accountants that make sure your financial data and records are accurate, timely, and useful. However, not all accountants that fit into this category are the same.
- CFO/Controller – accountant(s) that ensures your accounting processes are running smooth and provides you with the financial data needed for decision-making.
- Staff Accountant/Bookkeeper – accountant(s) that complete the day-to-day administrative accounting functions.
Tax Services – Accountants that understand the tax laws and regulations. They work with you to understand your unique tax situation to minimize your tax liability.
Audit Services – Accountants that understand the audit and accounting standards. Their services can be broken down into three categories: audit, review, and compilation. The primary difference in the service levels is the assurance provided as to the accuracy of the financial statements. The more assurance provided; the more inquiry, analysis and detail testing is applied. But remember, they don’t all work for the IRS.
The most important key is to know your needs and know your accountant! You want the best qualified accountant to fulfill your needs.
Upcoming Blog Topic: Ways your business can benefit from the resources a CFO/Controller provides.