CPA 2023 Requirements by State CPA Exam and Accountant Education

Even small mistakes can have big consequences for clients and the accountant could face sanctions. Public accounting offers the opportunity to work with various accounting systems and for an array of companies operating all over the world. Public accountants often have to build rapport with their clients, so strong social skills are a significant advantage. Life for a public accountant can be busy, filled with travel and irregular work hours.

  1. While working with solely one employer can feel more routine, it often leads to a healthier work-life balance.
  2. By having an accountant do the tax return forms, the business gets some protection in an audit.
  3. Public accountants play a crucial role in managing financial documents that their clients must disclose to the public, such as tax documents.
  4. Private accountants work with internal business or financial managers to plan their company’s cost of doing business and to evaluate fiscal performance.
  5. Public accountants hold professional accounting certifications such as Certified Public Accountants (CPA) and possess the necessary knowledge to carry out their duties effectively.
  6. Therefore, by learning about the differences between public and private accounting, it becomes easy to determine which career path would be suitable for you.

It’s probably even more unlikely after this stronger-than-expected jobs report, which showed average wages in January rising 4.5% from a year ago. The question is whether the Fed will see a shadow in the stronger-than-expected jobs market and extend our winter of elevated borrowing costs. You may have already discovered how broad and multi-faceted this occupation truly is, and that may leave you wondering what aspect of accounting would make the best fit for you.

Salary ranges are not specific to students or graduates of University of Phoenix. Actual outcomes vary based on multiple factors, including prior work experience, geographic location and other factors specific to the individual. University of Phoenix does not guarantee employment, salary level or career advancement. Information for a specific state/city can be researched on the BLS website.

A public accountant may also prepare all tax documents on behalf of a business. By having an accountant do the tax return forms, the business gets some protection in an audit. Bachelor of Science in Accounting — This program teaches essential skills to better understand accounting, such as auditing, accounting, financial statements and bookkeeping principles. Ready to take a closer look at public or private accounting opportunities in your area? In both public and private accounting, professionals are well compensated, the hiring outlook is strong and the talent shortages are expected to continue. According to EMSI, the median advertised salary for CPAs is $90,000 across all accounting functions.

Which Should You Pursue?

The CFO is the top of the ladder in private accounting, though that career path can be even more challenging than becoming a partner in a CPA firm. Changing industries as a corporate accountant can also be formidable, but it can be done. Top accounting graduates often take positions at large public accounting firms, including the Big Four — Deloitte, Ernst and Young, KPMG, and PWC.

He or she collaborates with multiple companies to scrutinize the financial statements that must go public. 1Credits and degrees earned from this institution do not automatically qualify the holder to participate in professional licensing exams to practice certain professions. Persons interested in practicing a regulated profession must contact the appropriate state regulatory agency for their field of interest. For instance, typically 150 credit hours or education are required to meet state regulatory agency education requirements for CPA licensure.

Where does a private accountant work?

CFOs are responsible for all internal accounting functions as well as treasury, risk management and investor relations. While one of the most significant differences between public and private accounting is the work environment, both have a period in the year that is their busiest. Public accountants are usually busiest during tax season, whereas private accountants are at the end of a fiscal quarter.

Differences Between Public Accounting and Private Accounting

In private accounting, the midpoint salary for a general accountant with one to three years of experience is $62,000. The midpoint salary for public accountants in audit/assurance services is $52,000 with one to three years of experience, and for senior managers in tax services, it’s as high as $134,000 at the midpoint. Public accountants provide auditing, tax, advisory and consulting services to private, public and governmental agencies. For people with an accounting or business degree, becoming a CPA is a significant career milestone.

Private accountants, on the other hand, deal with the financial information of a single company they’re employed by, usually preparing or analyzing reports for an internal manager. Because of this, private accountants are also sometimes referred to as corporate accountants. They often work for accounting firms which may work with many different types of clients. A public accountant can find themselves working with individual people, the government, non-profit organizations, or businesses in a variety of industries.

The Big Four (Deloitte, KPMG, E&Y, and PWC) are the classic examples of public accounting firms, as they are an external yet essential part of their clients. Public accountants work at a third-party firm and work with clients to review and prepare financial documents that are required to be disclosed to the public. At the simplest level, public accountants work to verify financial documents, reports, and disclosures from an outside perspective. They may help prepare tax returns for individuals and organizations, perform audits for companies, consult, and advise on tax and financial matters. Public accountants work for a third-party firm that is hired out by businesses and organizations to evaluate their finances.

Both types have their advantages, but which one is best for you all comes down to your personality, working style, and career goals. Certification as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is a requirement for public accountants, whereas private accountants are not necessarily required to hold a CPA certification. On the other hand, private accountants typically have a stable work environment with minimal or no travel, which means they have to adhere to regular work hours at a fixed location. If you’re considering a career in accounting, it’s important to understand the many different options that are available to you. An accounting degree can lead you to many different types of accounting careers, and unique specializations like tax and auditing.

Below are some typical examples of tasks and duties for a public accountant. Once you graduate and sit for your certification exam, you have several options open to you. Depending on where you apply to work, you’ll be working public vs private accounting in a public agency or in a private accounting firm. Public accountants usually select a specialty, such as tax accounting, auditing, forensic accounting, or consulting, which has its own set of responsibilities.