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What is the Difference Between an Accountant and a CPA?

The short answer, not much. The big difference is CPA’s can prepare financial statements for audits.

CPA certifications vary from state to state, the usual requirement is a bachelor’s degree in accounting, experience, and passing the CPA exam. Additionally, CPAs must complete 40 hours of continued education yearly.

To be an accountant, all you have to do is call yourself an accountant.

To be a great accountant, you would expect the same requirements as a CPA except of course taking the CPA exam. Being a great accounting firm is the category Andrews Tax Accounting strives to be in. Jeri Andrews exceeds the expectations put on CPAs because she has a Master’s degree in Accounting and over 15 years of experience. Secondly, a great accountant and firm will constantly keep up with new accounting practices and laws. For example, Andrews is an advanced certified ProAdvisor for QuickBooks Online and Desktop. To be a certified ProAdvisor, you must complete the ProAdvisor exam every year.

So, is Having a Master’s Degree Better Than Being a CPA?

Well, it depends on what you are looking for. Receiving a master’s degree means you have a deeper knowledge of accounting than what is covered on the CPA exam. The exam covers many topics, but it only scratches the surface.

Choosing between an accountant and a CPA really comes down to your needs. Note, most small businesses never need audit services so an accountant is sufficient.


Learn more about the differences between accountants and CPAs here!

Stephanie Ng also notes the differences between each title here.

Lastly, make sure to learn more about our services!

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