When you have known one CPA, you have known them all. To a great extent, that’s true. Unfortunately, to a certain extent also, it’s not.
And not only that, but it’s also unfair. In terms of a person’s basic qualifications, CPAs are much the same. That’s because, in terms of their education and experience, one is much like any other.
On the other hand, the experience they gain after they pass the CPA exam and begin to practice their profession can be very different. This is especially true for those CPAs who emphasize their work with small businesses.
When most people think of CPAs, they think of people who wear white starched shirts and black ties and pencil holders in their breast pockets. For better or for worse, that image is right on. Legend has it that many of these people also work for Big 8 accounting firms in big cities.
Fortunately, for a vast majority of CPAs, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Most CPAs work in smaller cities and for small businesses and individuals. For these folks, Small Business Bookkeeping Services represent a vast majority of their business as well as their expertise.
Becoming a CPA
Before a state grants a license to a person who wishes to become a CPA, that person must gain an education, including certain coursework in accounting and finance. Just because a person is a CPA does not mean they have a degree in accounting. Before a person becomes a CPA, they must also have experience as a public accountant, which means they work for a firm that provides accounting serves to the public. These might be but are not necessarily large firms.
While CPA candidates gain their experience, they gain experience in three areas prior to taking the CPA exam.
These areas are auditing and attestation, business concepts, and financial accounting and reporting. These areas represent the core of the CPA’s expertise and practice.
CPAs a Small Business
It is easier to understand the purpose of a CPA when a businessperson considers these three areas when they select a CPA. This is because when it comes down to practical terms, these are the services they offer businesses, large or small. If a CPA opts to work for a large business, they will gain more knowledge in the specifics of accounting for this type of business. These might include taxation and other subjects.
It might be worthwhile to understand this by comparing a CPA who works with small businesses as opposed to larger businesses like a physician who might work as a general practitioner versus a specialist in, for example, urology or brain surgery. Both are physicians who have certain commonalities, some just specialize in a given type of work.
For a CPA who works exclusively for small businesses, their function can be just as specialized, only in different matters, such as including payroll and others.
If all of this seems a little confusing—or a lot—it’s really not. Suffice it to say that CPAs work for businesses, both large and small. Not only that, but the accounting process is virtually the same for both. Where the issues that affect them differently, in most cases, is the scope and level of business activities they will find themselves involved in.
This is where businesses of different sizes will benefit from a CPA who has experience in their particular type of work.
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