Career Prospects of a US CPA vs Tax Preparer

Career Prospects of a US CPA vs Tax Preparer

While comparing CPA vs tax preparer, a CPA’s competency is unmatched.

What is a CPA?

A CPA is a US state board issued accounting license attained after qualifying the Uniform CPA Exam and meeting its educational and experience requirements.

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) works in collaboration with the 55 US State Boards of Accountancies (BOA) and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) to supervise the licensure exam.

Licensing Authority

The 55 US state boards or (BOA) have the statutory authority to issue the CPA license. Each state board has its own educational and experience requirements to fulfil for successful licensure. Hence, you must submit an official application for licensure to the respective BOA.

Pre-requisites for a CPA License

CPA licensure requirements vary as per your state board. However, the basic pre-requisites for most state boards are as follows:

  • Education – Bachelor’s Degree with 120-150 credit hours
  • Examination – Score at least 75 on a scale of 0-99 within 18 months
  • Experience – ­1-3 years
  • Ethics Exam (if required by your BOA)

Career Prospects

With their extensive knowledge and expertise in finance and accounting, they are suitable to take up any financial position in any industry. The on-job designation for CPAs can range from an objective consultant to a reliable financial planner.

Moreover, there are more than 46,000 public accounting firms (from small companies to large organizations) in the US. Hence, the career opportunities in the public accounting domain itself are pretty large.

Let’s take a look at some of the most in-demand career paths for a CPA.

Career Progression of a US CPA

Benefits of hiring a CPA

While comparing CPA vs tax preparer, a CPA’s competency is unmatched. Apart from fining returns, CPAs can help you with tax planning too. They ensure you have minimum tax liability while abiding by the law.

Furthermore, since their learning area goes beyond taxation, they are well-equipped to provide you with other accounting services too.  Their valuable insights may assist you in improving your business prospects.

In addition, they also possess unlimited representation before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Therefore, they can represent you on any matters related to audit, appeals, or payment or collection issues.

Moreover, with a regulatory body overlooking their work, chances of their committing fraud are greatly reduced. They abide by the professional ethics and moral code of conduct established by the state boards. Thus, in the event of any irregularities, the state board has the authority to revoke their license. Alternatively, tax preparers practice with minimal regulations.

- Thanks to Wallstreet Mojo for this article and illustrations

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