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What's involved in becoming a CPA and why does it matter to my business?

When you're considering outsourcing your accounting work, you hear a lot of different terms thrown about to describe different levels of responsibility and accountability. One of those terms is certified public accountant, or CPA. But what exactly is involved in the process of becoming a CPA and why should it matter to your company? Here's a quick look.

The requirements for becoming a CPA varies from state to state, but there are some overarching requirements that seem to fit across the board. Typically, about 150 hours of semester credit are required, beyond the total needed for most bachelor's degrees. In general, 30 to 35 hours of accounting coursework is required, with some states requiring additional business courses. Many accountants will pursue the additional requirements as graduate hours, often finishing up with an MBA or master's degree in accounting, though having a master's is not specifically required in many states. The accountant will then need an additional two years of experience before they are able to sit the exams, in public or private accounting firms or a business' accounting department. The four exams that finish up the process average between three and four hours long and allow the certification board to ensure each accountant is fully prepared to receive their certification.

So why does your business need to use a CPA? A CPA is licensed by the state and, as such, is required to stay current with tax law changes. If there are any issues with your tax return, a CPA is legally able to represent you before the IRS, while other accountants and tax preparers have only limited ability to do so. CPAs also have the training to perform detailed analysis and advise you on financial matters. Though that advice isn't guaranteed, the CPA puts their license on their line when giving the advice, so it's more likely to be good advice.

By working with a licensed CPA, you can help ensure that your business is on the most accurate financial footing. But how do you find the right CPA for your company to work with? At AccountRely, we have experienced CPAs that are ready to help you make the transition successfully. Please feel free to contact us today for more details.

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