If you’re considering hiring a CPA or part-time financial controller, you might be wondering exactly what those letters after a person’s name mean. Most people are familiar with the term CPA, and many know that it stands for Certified Public Accountant. But what does that mean for your business and your peace-of-mind?
Certification, in any industry, simply means that a professional organization has set standards for knowledge, skills and best practices, and a certified individual has shown to possess that skillset and employ those best practices. (Along with paying a certain amount of money to take certification exams.) There may be other aspects that go into certification, such as real-world work experience and specific courses. CPA’s have some of the most stringent requirements to join their ranks.
- Has an undergraduate or graduate degree, which includes 150 hours of course work in general education, including extensive semester hours in financial accounting, auditing, taxation and managerial accounting, as well as extensive hours in business administration and economics courses
- Must pass a four-part exam covering auditing and attestation, financial accounting and reporting, regulation, and business environment and concepts
- Must have at least one year experience as a financial accountant or bookkeeper (not including clerical duties such as maintaining a general ledger).
As you can see from these requirements, a CPA must show that they know their stuff, and can apply it in a business setting. When you hire a virtual accountant or part-time controllership firm, make sure that company has CPAs on staff to ensure the best quality of service.