Is A CPA The Same As An Accountant? There Is A Difference
The financial industry is full of complex terms and designations, which can make it difficult to understand the different roles that professionals play in the field. Tax preparers, auditors, financial planners, accountants, and Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) all work in the accounting space, but they are not all the same. While some of these roles may overlap and involve similar tasks, there are key distinctions between them.
Two of the most often confused roles in the world of finance are CPAs and accountants. More often than not, people use both terms interchangeably, but there are actually significant differences between the two. Kyle P. Nagy, CPA, one of the top-rated CPA firms Lee's Summit, MO residents can trust, explains that CPAs and accountants are, in fact, two distinct professional titles.
What Is An Accountant?
An accountant is a professional who earned a degree in accounting, finance, taxation, or any other finance-related field. Accountants can perform various tasks, from preparing financial reports to analyzing and monitoring a company’s finances. Generally speaking, it takes four years of undergraduate school to become an accountant.
Below are some of the most common tasks that an accountant may be responsible for:
- Preparing financial statements
- Analyzing business and accounting data
- Auditing financial documents
- Managing taxes and other liabilities
- Keeping accurate financial records
What Is A CPA?
A CPA is an accountant who has passed the Uniform CPA Examination and completed other required licensing requirements to become certified. A CPA license shows that a professional has the advanced knowledge and experience necessary to perform complex accounting tasks. It takes around seven years of education and training to become a CPA, making them the most esteemed professionals in the accounting field.
In addition to handling the same duties as an accountant, a CPA can also provide a variety of other services to clients, including:
- Tax preparation and planning
- Financial consulting
- Auditing and attestation
- Estate planning
- Business valuations
- Fraud detection and prevention
- Advising on business decisions
- Manage accounts payable and receivable
- Provide fractional CFO services
- Represent clients before the IRS
Should You Hire A CPA Or An Accountant?
Ultimately, the choice between a CPA and an accountant comes down to the level of expertise needed for a particular task. For instance, if you're looking for someone to help you with basic accounting, such as preparing financial statements or bookkeeping services, then an accountant may be the better option. However, if your company requires more specialized services, such as tax planning or fraud prevention, then it's best to hire a CPA.
CPAs are especially beneficial for businesses that want to gain an in-depth understanding of their financial operations, as they are equipped with the knowledge and experience necessary to help companies make sound financial decisions. No matter which type of professional you choose for accounting services, it is essential that you thoroughly research your potential hire first. Check their credentials, read reviews, and ask for references to ensure that you choose the most qualified person or team for the job.
How Much Do CPAs And Accountants Charge?
The cost of hiring a CPA or an accountant varies based on their experience and the services you require. Generally speaking, both types of professionals will charge for their services by the hour, but some offer flat rates for specific tasks. To get a better idea of what to expect, it's best to ask potential hires to provide you with a more accurate cost.
Regardless of the type of accounting professional you eventually choose, it is important to remember that their services are worth the investment. Having a CPA or an accountant handle your company's finances can help you better manage taxes, increase profits, and improve operations—all of which can benefit your business or personal financial situation in the long run.
Looking For The Best CPA Near Me In Lee's Summit, MO?
If you are looking for a top-rated CPA office for small businesses in the greater Lee's Summit, MO area, Kyle P. Nagy, CPA is the firm to call. With decades of experience in the industry, the team at Kyle P. Nagy, CPA can provide you with the advanced accounting services you need to protect your financial well-being.
From bookkeeping, auditing, and tax preparation to financial consulting and fraud prevention, the team of experienced CPAs and tax professionals at Kyle P. Nagy, CPA has you covered. Contact Kyle P. Nagy, CPA today at (816) 525-4975 for quality and affordable accounting and tax preparation services in Lee's Summit, MO, and beyond.