What Does a Las Vegas CPA Do?

Certified public accountants, or CPAs, aren’t just tax preparers and bookkeepers. CPAs are distinguished from other financial professionals by a variety of stringent qualification and licensing requirements. A CPA is recognized as one of the most professional and trusted designations in the world of business. The duties of CPAs have greatly expanded over the years as businesses, global trading and economics, technology, and other factors have come into play. CPAs serve as financial strategists who help chart the growth and success of individuals, companies, corporations, small businesses, or non-profit organizations. More and more, the public turns to CPAs for advice on investing, financial and estate planning, and more. Businesses turn to CPAs to not only handle taxes and manage finances, but also to design and develop new product lines, provide financial and business consulting, and help diversify investments. As the business world expands, so too does the role of the qualified and highly respected CPA.

Requirements and Education

A CPA is a qualified accountant who has passed the CPA exam and received a license in at least one of the 50 states in the United States. This license is renewed on a continual basis so long as the CPA continues to meet with state requirements. These requirements include continual professional education credits. The majority of state boards of accountancy require candidates to fulfill 150 college credits before taking the CPA exam.

In order to receive licensing as a CPA in the United States, an individual must pass the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination. This exam is set by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy administers the exam. Eligibility for the exam is determined by each state’s board of accountancy.

While the CPA exam is uniform for all individuals seeking licensure, each state may have additional separate laws regarding CPA certification and requirements. Therefore, specific certification requirements will depend upon which state the CPA will be practicing in. State requirements regarding CPA qualification are often summed up as the Three E’s – Education, Examination, and Experience. Each of these areas may vary according to state requirements.

Those who have passed the CPA exam but have not completed other requirements, such as on-the-job experience, or have met the requirements but have allowed their continuing professional education to lapse or requested inactive status are, in the majority of states, allowed to continue practice with the title of CPA Inactive or a similar title that accurately represents their status. With the exception of Kansas, Arizona, and North Carolina, only licensed CPAs are allowed to provide public attestation opinions on financial statements. In North Carolina, Kansas, and Arkansas, auditing practices and CPA designation are not restricted as they are in the other 47 U.S. States.

Where Do CPAs Work?

A large number of CPAs are employed in the field of public accounting and work either as a sole practitioner or in a large CPA firm. Others, however, may choose instead to seek employment as accountants for government agencies, financial institutions, health care providers, non-profit organizations, or other companies and organizations Following are some areas in which a qualified CPA may work:

Tax and Financial Planning – CPAs assist companies and individuals with investing, financial planning and budgeting, taxes, acquisitions and other such areas.

Environmental Accounting – As more and more companies focus on environmental issues, CPAs are increasingly needed to perform compliance audits and develop preventative systems designed with environmental compliance procedures in mind.

Consulting Services – CPAs are often called upon for advice in financial and strategic areas of a company or organization.

Information Technology Services – As the IT field has steadily exploded, huge opportunities have been presented to CPAs who possess strong computer skills. Qualified CPAs with extensive IT skills are often called upon to design and develop advanced systems that will fit a company or organization’s needs while meeting with all financial and compliance standards.

International Accounting – As global economy becomes a stronger focus in today’s world, qualified CPAs who possess a strong understanding in international trade laws are highly sought after.

Forensic Accounting – CPAs may be employed to conduct what is commonly referred to as fraud auditing or investigative accounting. In this capacity, CPAs must dig into a company or organization’s accounting records in a search for evidence of criminal misconduct.

Qualified CPAs in Las Vegas may also find a niche in the industry of income tax preparation Some companies have a tax department as well as an auditing department. CPAs in a company may be called upon to join forces with attorneys and enrolled agents and go before the Internal Revenue Service in representation of a taxpayer.

How a Las Vegas CPA Differs from a Public Accountant

Public accountants perform a number of tasks, including tax preparation, auditing, consulting, and a variety of other services for individuals, companies, corporations, or organizations. A CPA, however, can do two things a general public accountant without a CPA license can’t do. A CPA can prepare reviewed or audited financial statements and file reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission. All public companies and organizations must file these statements with the SEC. Therefore, CPAs are often more highly sought after than a general public accountant for employment within a company or organization. Secondly, CPAs are qualified to represent clients in cases that go before the Internal Revenue Service. It should be noted, however, that a public accountant without a CPA license can also represent a client if the accountant also is an attorney, enrolled retirement plan agent, or enrolled agent.

Whether a CPA provides direct services to the public or works for a corporation or other organization, they an operate in almost any area of finance. These areas may include corporate financing and governance, estate planning, financial analysis, tax preparation and planning,or any number of other financial areas.