A certified public accountant (CPA) acts as an advisor to small businesses and chief financial officers to Fortune 500 companies. They typically work for both small and large public accounting firms. They offer advice on many issues, such as accounting and taxation. They aid businesses and individuals to plan and achieve their financial goals. There are several requirements to become a CPA, including having a degree in accounting, passing the CPA examination, and obtaining a CPA license to practice.

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Certified Public Accountant Responsibilities

Here are examples of responsibilities from real certified public accountant resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Mentor highly skil accounting and tax management team to achieve establish objectives including conformity with GAAP compliance.
  • Maintain monthly client bookkeeping including bank reconciliations, account payable and prepare preliminary financial statements for CPA review.
  • Conduct bookkeeping, bank reconciliations and generate general ledgers as well as raise concerns about expenditure classifications and revenue recognition.
  • Prepare and review month-end close, including journal entries, general ledger account reconciliations, and financial statement supporting documentation.
  • Gain a working knowledge of audit objectives and procedures in compliance with GAAP and GAAS.
  • Prepare and monitor audit programs, assist management in design and monitoring of SOX compliance programs.
  • Apply applicable accounting and auditing standards while performing audits and reviews, under U.S. GAAP and GAAS standards.
  • Coordinate accounting transactions to company CPA.
  • Book transactions make adjusting entries and analyze financial statements in QuickBooks.
  • Complete projects as requested including participating in gathering information for IRS audit requests.
  • Perform audit, review and compilation procedures including relate IRS filings for diversify clientele.
  • Perform accounting functions to record business transactions utilizing QuickBooks in order to reflect business results.
  • Prepare FS footnotes requiring in-depth research to determine proper GAAP treatment for multifacete attestation situations.
  • Review of contract documentation to determine billing requirements, reporting requirements and ERP setup for automate invoicing.
  • Provide business advisory and tax compliance services, specializing in international taxation and employee compensation and benefits plans.

Certified Public Accountant Job Description

Perhaps the hardest question to answer when deciding on a career as a certified public accountant is "should I become a certified public accountant?" You might find this info to be helpful. When compared to other jobs, certified public accountant careers are projected to have a growth rate described as "as fast as average" at 6% from 2018 through 2028. This is in accordance with the Bureau of Labor Statistics. What's more, is that the projected number of opportunities that are predicted to become available for a certified public accountant by 2028 is 90,700.

A certified public accountant annual salary averages $76,693, which breaks down to $36.87 an hour. However, certified public accountants can earn anywhere from upwards of $49,000 to $119,000 a year. This means that the top-earning certified public accountants make $51,000 more than the lowest-earning ones.

It's hard work to become a certified public accountant, but even the most dedicated employees consider switching careers from time to time. Whether you're interested in a more challenging position or just looking for a fresh start, we've compiled extensive information on becoming a tax professional, tax associate, tax analyst, and tax consultant.

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Certified Public Accountant Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 48% of Certified Public Accountants are proficient in CPA, Customer Service, and IRS. They’re also known for soft skills such as Analytical skills, Communication skills, and Detail oriented.

We break down the percentage of Certified Public Accountants that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • CPA, 48%

    Maintained monthly client bookkeeping including bank reconciliations, account payable and prepared preliminary financial statements for CPA review.

  • Customer Service, 22%

    Provided customer service solutions for incoming inquiries regarding paychecks, direct deposits, and miscellaneous requests regarding wages and accounting.

  • IRS, 7%

    Performed audit, review and compilation procedures including related IRS filings for diversified clientele.

  • State Tax Returns, 5%

    Prepared individual and small business federal and state tax returns including Maryland personal property tax returns.

  • Payroll Tax Returns, 2%

    Directed preparation of financial statements, financial and statistical analyses, budgeting, payroll tax returns and Medicare/Medicaid cost reporting.

  • Financial Statement Preparation, 1%

    Planned and supervised audit fieldwork and financial statement preparation for not-for-profit organizations, insurance companies, and employee benefit plans.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Certified Public Accountant Resume templates

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Some of the skills we found on certified public accountant resumes included "cpa," "customer service," and "irs." We have detailed the most important certified public accountant responsibilities below.

  • The most important skills for a certified public accountant to have in this position are analytical skills. In this excerpt that we gathered from a certified public accountant resume, you'll understand why: "accountants and auditors must be able to identify issues in documentation and suggest solutions" According to resumes we found, analytical skills can be used by a certified public accountant in order to "job title office assistant data entry, answering phones scheduling appointments filing & organizing"
  • Another trait important for fulfilling certified public accountant duties is communication skills. According to a certified public accountant resume, "accountants and auditors must be able to listen carefully to facts and concerns from clients, managers, and others." Here's an example of how certified public accountants are able to utilize communication skills: "developed communication system between cpa's and computer department to improve work flow. "
  • Certified public accountants are also known for detail oriented, which can be critical when it comes to performing their duties. An example of why this skill is important is shown by this snippet that we found in a certified public accountant resume: "accountants and auditors must pay attention to detail when compiling and examining documentation." We also found this resume example that details how this skill is put to the test: "keep the ar account updated to give details to ca (charter accountant, same as cpa) on timely basis. "
  • In order for certain certified public accountant responsibilities to be completed, the job requires the skill "math skills." According to a certified public accountant resume, "accountants and auditors must be able to analyze, compare, and interpret facts and figures, although complex math skills are not necessary." As an example, this snippet was taken directly from a resume about how this skill applies: "assist cpa with monthly statistics report. "
  • Yet another important skill that a certified public accountant must demonstrate is "organizational skills." Strong organizational skills are important for accountants and auditors, who often work with a range of financial documents for a variety of clients. This is clearly demonstrated in this example from a certified public accountant who stated: "improved tax return preparation and planning at the individual and organizational levels by creating standardized reports to enhance clarity. "
  • See the full list of certified public accountant skills.

    After discovering the most helpful skills, we moved onto what kind of education might be helpful in becoming a certified public accountant. We found that 69.3% of certified public accountants have graduated with a bachelor's degree and 11.9% of people in this position have earned their master's degrees. While most certified public accountants have a college degree, you may find it's also true that generally it's possible to be successful in this career with only a high school degree. In fact, our research shows that one out of every eight certified public accountants were not college graduates.

    Those certified public accountants who do attend college, typically earn either a accounting degree or a business degree. Less commonly earned degrees for certified public accountants include a finance degree or a economics degree.

    Once you're ready to become a certified public accountant, you should explore the companies that typically hire certified public accountants. According to certified public accountant resumes that we searched through, certified public accountants are hired the most by Northpoint, Goodwin Recruiting, and LC Staffing. Currently, Northpoint has 55 certified public accountant job openings, while there are 15 at Goodwin Recruiting and 12 at LC Staffing.

    But if you're interested in companies where you might earn a high salary, certified public accountants tend to earn the biggest salaries at Applied Materials, Microsoft, and Ocean Tomo. Take Applied Materials for example. The median certified public accountant salary is $123,927. At Microsoft, certified public accountants earn an average of $122,599, while the average at Ocean Tomo is $120,948. You should take into consideration how difficult it might be to secure a job with one of these companies.

    View more details on certified public accountant salaries across the United States.

    If you earned a degree from the top 100 educational institutions in the United States, you might want to take a look at Robert Half, Ernst & Young, and Deloitte. These three companies have hired a significant number of certified public accountants from these institutions.

    The industries that certified public accountants fulfill the most roles in are the professional and insurance industries. But the highest certified public accountant annual salary is in the finance industry, averaging $92,755. In the professional industry they make $91,120 and average about $88,309 in the health care industry. In conclusion, certified public accountants who work in the finance industry earn a 45.6% higher salary than certified public accountants in the manufacturing industry.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious certified public accountants are:

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    What Tax Professionals Do

    A tax professional is responsible for conducting tax procedures, ensuring that all tax documents are filed timely and accurately. Tax professionals review financial statements, verify adjustments, and resolve account discrepancies. They also handle financial reports and collate related account documents. A tax professional should be highly-communicative and analytical, especially on solving tax complexities, as well as preventing financial risks and excessive loss. A tax professional may also file for dispute on a case-to-case basis for any inaccuracies on tax statements.

    In this section, we compare the average certified public accountant annual salary with that of a tax professional. Typically, tax professionals earn a $16,452 lower salary than certified public accountants earn annually.

    While the salaries between these two careers can be different, they do share some of the same responsibilities. Employees in both certified public accountants and tax professionals positions are skilled in strong customer service, customer service, and irs.

    There are some key differences in responsibilities as well. For example, a certified public accountant responsibilities require skills like "cpa," "payroll tax returns," "financial statement preparation," and "audit reports." Meanwhile a typical tax professional has skills in areas such as "taxable income," "audit support," "business growth," and "tax advice." This difference in skills reveals how truly different these two careers really are.

    Tax professionals tend to make the most money in the government industry by averaging a salary of $73,335. In contrast, certified public accountants make the biggest average salary of $92,755 in the finance industry.

    The education levels that tax professionals earn is a bit different than that of certified public accountants. In particular, tax professionals are 1.9% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree than a certified public accountant. Additionally, they're 0.4% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    What Are The Duties Of a Tax Associate?

    Tax associates are responsible for helping businesses and individuals with state and federal income tax preparation and compliance. These professionals often work for accounting firms and financial services companies. They perform varied tasks that include reviewing income statements, financial records, and expenditures, interviewing clients about income and expenses, and minimizing their clients' tax liability. Tax associates also conduct research on tax issues and assist with tax audits, advise clients on compensation and tax information, and maintain accurate and current client records.

    Now we're going to look at the tax associate profession. On average, tax associates earn a $14,227 lower salary than certified public accountants a year.

    Not everything about these jobs is different. Take their skills, for example. Certified public accountants and tax associates both include similar skills like "cpa," "strong customer service," and "irs" on their resumes.

    While some skills are similar in these professions, other skills aren't so similar. For example, several resumes showed us that certified public accountant responsibilities requires skills like "customer service," "payroll tax returns," "financial statement preparation," and "audit reports." But a tax associate might use skills, such as, "strong computer," "local tax returns," "tax compliance," and "tax regulations."

    It's been discovered that tax associates earn lower salaries compared to certified public accountants, but we wanted to find out where tax associates earned the most pay. The answer? The finance industry. The average salary in the industry is $72,775. Additionally, certified public accountants earn the highest paychecks in the finance with an average salary of $92,755.

    When it comes to the differences in education between the two professions, tax associates tend to reach similar levels of education than certified public accountants. In fact, they're 3.2% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 0.4% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    What Technology Do You Think Will Become More Important And Prevalent For Staff Accountants In The Next 3-5 Years?

    Grace Huff

    Assistant Professor of Accounting, Daemen College

    Blockchain technology is an efficient way to track transaction history. It will facilitate the audit process, allowing the auditors to focus on higher-level tasks, like planning and evaluating assets.

    How a Tax Analyst Compares

    A tax analyst specializes in managing and filing tax forms and tax returns, all while devising strategies to reduce tax payments legally. A tax analyst may work as a member of a company or independently. Moreover, in a company setting, the responsibilities of a tax analyst revolve around coordinating with different departments to obtain all necessary documentation and financial information, maintaining accurate and extensive records of all transactions, and resolving any issues or concerns. Furthermore, it is essential to remain updated with all the tax laws, all while adhering to the policies and regulations of the company.

    The tax analyst profession generally makes a lower amount of money when compared to the average salary of certified public accountants. The difference in salaries is tax analysts making $14,948 lower than certified public accountants.

    While looking through the resumes of several certified public accountants and tax analysts we discovered that both professions have similar skills. These similarities include skills such as "customer service," "irs," and "state tax returns," but they differ when it comes to other required skills.

    As mentioned, these two careers differ between other skills that are required for performing the work exceedingly well. For example, gathering from certified public accountants resumes, they are more likely to have skills like "cpa," "strong customer service," "payroll tax returns," and "financial statement preparation." But a tax analyst might have skills like "tax audits," "tax compliance," "tax payments," and "onesource."

    Additionally, tax analysts earn a higher salary in the technology industry compared to other industries. In this industry, they receive an average salary of $79,702. Additionally, certified public accountants earn an average salary of $92,755 in the finance industry.

    Tax analysts typically study at similar levels compared with certified public accountants. For example, they're 2.4% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree, and 0.1% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    Description Of a Tax Consultant

    Tax consultants are experts in providing commercially centered tax advice and tax services to wide-ranging clients who function in all sectors of the economy. The work they do involves devising tax-efficient strategies for international and domestic-based clients in various business situations, including takeovers, company merges, and corporate reconstructions. They work continually to help clients ensure that the best business decisions are met. They also monitor and get ahead of possible changes concerning tax legislation and responding fast with guidance specific to their clients' tax requirements.

    The fourth career we look at typically earns lower pay than certified public accountants. On average, tax consultants earn a difference of $9,956 lower per year.

    While their salaries may vary, certified public accountants and tax consultants both use similar skills to perform their jobs. Resumes from both professions include skills like "cpa," "irs," and "state tax returns. "

    While some skills are shared by these professions, there are some differences to note. "strong customer service," "customer service," "payroll tax returns," and "financial statement preparation" are skills that have shown up on certified public accountants resumes. Additionally, tax consultant uses skills like property tax, tax compliance, strong analytical, and payroll on their resumes.

    Now, let's take a closer look at the financials in each career. The finance industry tends to pay more for tax consultants with an average of $73,553. While the highest certified public accountant annual salary comes from the finance industry.

    In general, tax consultants reach similar levels of education when compared to certified public accountants resumes. Tax consultants are 4.6% more likely to earn their Master's Degree and 2.6% more likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

    What a Certified Public Accountant Does FAQs

    Cpa Vs. Accountant

    A CPA is an accountant that can sign a client's tax returns and also be a representative of a company or individual in the event of an IRS audit, while a regular accountant can do neither of those two tasks.

    Chartered Accountant Vs. Cpa

    A chartered accountant is a financial professional who is able to keep financial records and offer consultation, while a CPA is a certified public accountant that is a tax specialist.

    Chartered accountants keep or organize financial information. Individuals and businesses employ them to assist with tax returns, financial statements, or lending agreements. Other tasks of chartered accountants include conducting payroll, managing investments and expenses, and accounting for internal finances such as transaction data.

    Tax Accountant Vs. Cpa

    A tax accountant is a CPA who works with businesses to develop a tax strategy to minimize their liabilities, while a CPA is a certified public accountant and may be a tax accountant.

    Tax accountants are certified public accountants. Their main focus is on the preparation and management of taxes for a company or individual. They may also provide guidance on financial planning and estate planning.

    How To Become A Cpa Without A Degree

    To become a CPA without a degree, you must pass the CPA exam in either Alaska, Georgia, Hawaii, Maine, or Massachusetts. If you pass in any of the states you then have to practice accounting in that same state.

    Is A Cpa Better Than A Ca?

    No, a certified public accountant (CPA) is not necessarily better than a chartered accountant (CA).

    The primary difference between the two public accounting certifications is that a certified public accountant (CPA) certification is only valid in the United States and, more specifically, in its issuing state.

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