What is Accounting?
Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary defines accounting as, “the system of recording and summarizing business and financial transactions and analyzing, verifying, and reporting the results.”
In real life, it’s much more than that. Accounting helps ensure that businesses are run efficiently, public records kept more accurately, and financial records and accounts are properly handled. Sound dull? How about this—accountants problem-solve, analyze, create, seek solutions, pamper, train, teach, write books, shop, investigate, travel, and own businesses. There’s a great big world in accounting that most people don’t know about. Accountants are business advisers.
The accounting profession enables you to create the working environment of your dreams because you can speak the language of business: Accounting.
Why Should I Be a CPA?
While most people use the terms accountant and CPA interchangeably, there is a big difference. The CPA credential carries enormous weight in business and financial circles. CPAs are considered to be among the most trusted advisors, and when business owners were asked how often they rely on outside business counsel, half said they rely on their CPA “always” or “often.”
If you want to be part of an elite team, become a CPA.
What Opportunities Are There in Accounting?
Today, business is hot. The world is in fast-forward. And what better way to ride the success of the new economy than as a CPA? CPAs make it happen—with the financial knowledge and analytical skills needed by every company and organization. The accounting field is projected to grow 10 to 20 percent for the next several years, with the most desirable positions going to CPAs. This could be you!
Business runs on CPAs. And CPAs run business. With positions like chief financial officer, managing partner, or president CPAs run the show from Wall Street to Main Street. CPAs are at the forefront of business, from international accounting firms to rock bands; from the FBI to professional sports teams; and from multinational corporations to small start-up companies.
CPA certification opens doors to influential jobs that put you in control of your career and your life. In a public accounting firm, you might examine a company’s financial records, provide business consulting services or develop a computer system. In a company, you might advise on how to increase profits, analyze future financing needs, or lead strategic planning. In government, in teaching … any way you slice it, as a CPA you’ve got juice.
Specialty Areas in Accounting
Accounting isn’t just about preparing tax returns or conducting audits, although it is the basis of the profession. The profession has expanded to include a wide variety of specialty areas and accreditations. Here are some of the areas in which CPAs practice:
Assurance Services — The sleuth service of accounting. Assurance services can test financial and non-financial information, or inspect an organization’s accounting records and procedures, contracts, financial statements, Web site, or loan terms to provide assurance as to correctness or appropriateness.
Consulting Services — Individuals, businesses, financial institutions, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies need CPAs to offer objective advice and assistance.
Environmental Accounting — With increasing resources focused on environmental issues, CPAs conduct audits and design systems to ensure compliance with environmental regulations.
Forensic Accounting— Also known as investigative accounting or fraud auditing, forensic accounting digs below accounting records, searching for evidence of criminal misconduct.
Information Technology (IT) Services — Exploding IT growth has created huge opportunities for CPAs with strong computer skills to design and implement advanced systems to fit an organization’s needs.
International Accounting — In today’s global economy, CPAs with an understanding and mastery of international trade laws and regulations are in great demand.
Litigation Support — As trusted business advisers, CPAs are often called upon in legal actions requiring the expertise. CPAs provide assistance to attorneys with valuations, reviewing documents, uncovering fraud, or serving as expert witnesses.
Tax and Financial Planning — CPAs help individuals and companies with financial planning, investments, taxes, mergers and acquisitions, and much more.
Valuation Services – CPAs who provide valuation services deal with complex fair value issues in order to provide independent and accurate conclusions on the value of personal or business property, and a plethora of other financial transactions.