What Is a CPA?

A CPA is a certified public accountant, and the qualifications needed to become one vary by state. Some states also require additional accounting and ethics courses. For more information on the qualifications required for the CPA, read our article. You may also be interested in the education required for a CPA. Here are some tips to get you started. Listed below are the qualifications and duties of a CPA. Also, remember that state-specific requirements vary and should be reviewed before applying for the position.


A bachelor’s degree and one year of work experience under a licensed CPA are the prerequisites for a career as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). The applicant must also complete at least 150 credit hours in accounting, including at least 30 hours of advanced accounting and related courses. He or she must have completed at least 24 hours in business law and ethics. Furthermore, the candidate must complete an ethics course and pass a fingerprint background check to become a CPA.

The CPA examination is administered by each state. The licensure criteria vary widely from state to state. The prerequisites for becoming a CPA are among the toughest to meet. CPAs must possess a four-year bachelor’s degree and 150 semester hours. Non-US applicants, however, may have difficulties obtaining the credentials required to take the exam. CPAs who are interested in investing can pursue a career as a financial analyst, a position in which they use their accounting expertise to detect fraudulent patterns.


Although the Role of a CPA and the CFO are very similar, there are some differences between them. A CPA focuses on books and taxes, while a CFO concentrates on company strategy. While the CPA’s job focuses on the details of day-to-day operations, the CFO’s is more strategic, focusing on maximizing the tax benefits for a company. A CFO may also be a good choice for a company’s long-term financial strategy, but the CPA’s role involves the basics of accounting.

Generally, a CPA’s role is in public accounting, working with financial data that clients are legally required to disclose. These duties can be varied and may include preparing tax forms for individuals or balance sheet statements for corporations. In some cases, CPAs also act as investigators for companies that are accused of fraud. They may be called upon to give testimony in a court of law. In addition to being a trusted advisor, a CPA may also be called upon to make recommendations for control systems, long-term planning and operational activities. To be effective, a CPA must have sufficient knowledge to make sound recommendations.


A CPA has many responsibilities, including adhering to an ethical code of conduct. These responsibilities include representing clients’ interests, maintaining public confidence, avoiding conflicts of interest, and advancing the accounting profession. The AICPA’s Code of Professional Conduct also lays out specific guidelines for CPAs. To learn more, please consult the AICPA website. The Code also includes information about the CPA’s duties and responsibilities.

If you are asked to be an expert witness, your first responsibility should be to limit your answers to the facts presented in the case. In other words, avoid characterizations or going outside your professional sphere. Generally, you should comply with Rule One and Rule Three. Depending on the circumstances, your answer may be questioned and you should seek advice. Here are some examples of scenarios that might require expert testimony:

Education requirements

The minimum education requirements for a CPA vary from state to state. In general, candidates must have a bachelor’s degree in accounting, or a related field. In addition, they must complete at least 150 semester hours of accounting courses, which includes upper-division courses in taxation, auditing, and financial reporting. Students can also complete the education requirements for a CPA by completing an undergraduate degree program in an unrelated field and pursuing a master’s in accounting.

Some students may opt to pursue a master’s degree in accounting to earn a higher salary or to gain additional specialized skills. However, this route requires extra study and preparation. The national average pass rate is only 52 percent. Students who are considering pursuing a master’s degree should keep these points in mind. The higher the level of education, the better the chances of getting into a top position. Additionally, some master’s degree programs are specifically designed to prepare students for the CPA exam.