What is a CPA?

Aug 05, 2011

When you need financial advice for your business or personal needs, it’s important to hire the most qualified professional with the right expertise.

CPA stands for certified public accountant and is a credential that is synonymous with trust, integrity, high-level thinking and sound advice.

What that translates into for you is a professional that has extensive training in many areas. Unlike some tax preparers who work just several months out of the year, CPAs are fully engaged in interpreting and applying tax law year-round.

Today’s CPAs are CFOs (chief financial officers), managing partners, presidents and more. They work with professional athletes, track down criminals, finance the movies you watch and make sure organizations of every kind stay in business each and every day. In short, CPAs run the business world. Having a CPA opens doors to influential jobs that put you in control of your career and your life.

Members of The Ohio Society of CPAs adhere to the highest professional standards and ethical conduct in serving their clients and the public interest. CPAs in public accounting also undergo a peer review every three years. This includes a thorough inspection of their practices by other trained CPAs—a process designed to ensure a higher level of accuracy and integrity in a CPA’s work.

Bottom line, a CPA is the most qualified and ethical advisor to help you manage your financial affairs.

While all CPAs are accountants, not all accountants are CPAs. Each state has its own requirements to become a CPA, but many states’ requirements are similar. While you may earn an accounting degree and go on to work in the profession, you need to pass the CPA exam to earn the right to use the CPA credential. It’s one of the most respected designations and professions in the world.

How CPAs become licensed

Ohio CPAs are licensed by the Accountancy Board of Ohio. To earn the CPA credential and become licensed, an individual undergoes extensive education and training and must meet the following requirements:

  • Earn a degree from an accredited college or university with 150 semester hours
  • Work under the supervision of a licensed CPA for a minimum of one year
  • Sit for a uniform, four-part exam that measures competency in business, accounting and financial reporting disciplines, and prepares individuals to accept the professional and legal responsibilities of a licensed CPA
  • Once licensed, a CPA must earn an additional 120 hours of continuing education every three years

Want to become a CPA? Learn more.