Why Choose a CPA?

A CPA, or certified public accountant, is licensed by a state authority to practice public accounting. CPAs are distinguished from other accountants by stringent licensing requirements. To qualify for certification and a state license, an individual generally must have at least a college degree or its equivalent, must pass the rigorous two-and-a-half day Uniform CPA Examination and, in some states, must meet certain experience or postgraduate study requirements. In addition, almost all states require CPAs to take specified amounts of continuing professional education annually to retain their professional licenses to practice. For Minnesota, continuing professional education is mandatory.

Additionally, CPAs are governed by a Code of Professional Conduct - one of the most exacting of any profession - which stresses independence, integrity, objectivity, technical competence and adherence to professional standards. This Code emphasizes the CPA's commitment to serving and protecting the public interest.

As accounting practitioners, CPAs are proprietors, partners, shareholders, or staff members of CPA firms. They provide professional services to privately owned and publicly held companies, financial institutions, nonprofit organizations, individuals, and all levels of government. CPAs are also employed in business and industry, in government and in education.

Prepared by the Communications Division, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants © 1989 AICPA, Inc.