In the United States, a certified public accountant (CPA) is an individual that is licensed to provide accounting services to the public. It is awarded by each of the 50 states for practice in that state.
A CPA must meet education, work, and examination requirements—including holding a bachelor’s degree in business administration, finance, or accounting, and completing 150 hours of education and pass a rigorous exam consisting of four, four-hour sections.
Other requirements for the CPA designation include having two or more years of public accounting experience and passing the Uniform CPA Exam administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).
CPAs are known for their role in income tax preparation but can specialize in many other areas, such as auditing, bookkeeping, forensic accounting, managerial accounting, and information technology.
The AICPA requires that all CPA designation holders adhere to the Code of Professional Conduct, which lays out the ethical standards CPAs must adhere to.
What is An Enrolled Agent?
A federally-licensed tax practitioner
Having demonstrated technical expertise in the field of taxation
Empowered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury to represent taxpayers before all administrative levels of the Internal Revenue Service for audits, collections, and appeals under Circular 230 for EAs, CPAs, and Tax Attorneys.
How does one become an Enrolled Agent?
By passing a comprehensive two-day examination covering all aspects of the tax code, or
By having worked at the IRS for five years in a position which regularly interpreted and applied the tax code and its regulations
All candidates are subjected to a rigorous background check conducted by the IRS and are subject to continuing education requirements, all in tax.