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What a CPA Is and Why You Need One

A CPA is short for a “certified public accountant.” They are professionals with a CPA exam certification and are licensed in the state where they reside.

A CPA is short for a “certified public accountant.” They are professionals with a CPA exam certification and are licensed in the state where they reside. Different states have various CPA licenses available, but generally CPAs have the ability to act as tax consultants, accounting consultants, financial and business advisors, and work in other financial arenas. Since one of the biggest components of being a successful business owner is keeping your finances in order, CPA firms in Charleston are a perfect way to ensure that you are legally compliant and making smart financial decisions for your company.

Accountant Versus Certified Public Accountant

In the accounting world, being an accountant does not necessarily mean that you are a CPA. A CPA is a specific type of licensure that you need in the United States, and in order to have it, you have to pass a state-specific exam. The qualifications do vary by state, and sometimes a professional needs a minimum of two years experience in accounting and a bachelor’s degree.

The advantage of hiring a CPA is that they are already experienced. CPAs are typically also certified to take on more complex tasks and responsibilities than an accountant. In addition, they are required to renew their certification periodically, which means that they are probably more up-to-date.

What About a Bookkeeper? Is That the Same as an Accountant?

A bookkeeper is not the same as an accountant. Although most people use the terms interchangeably, there are some major differences between a bookkeeper and an accountant. Bookkeepers usually work with short-term finances, while an accountant works more in the long term with the bigger picture. Daily expenses are most often associated with a bookkeeper, while things like tax returns and financial planning are generally handled by an accountant.

Do You Need Both a Bookkeeper and a CPA?

Although it might sound like you should have a bookkeeper for your daily finances and a CPA to cover longer-term financial information, that might not be the case. The ideal situation is to choose a CPA over a bookkeeper. It makes more sense to manage your own bookkeeping using a simple software program designed for small business owners.

Good software will sync all of your financial accounts together to process payroll, create invoices, and take care of your daily finances. Taking care of your own finances will help you grasp what is coming in and going out. Once you have input the necessary information, turn the bigger picture over to an accountant to help with things like taxes and financial planning for the future.

The amount of accounting help that you need or want can be customized according to your needs, so that you aren’t left paying for services you don’t need or not getting services that you can benefit from.

A CPA is a highly specialized and trained financial professional who can help with your business finances. Not all accountants are CPAs, but all CPAs are accountants. Make sure you know the difference and what you need for your small business, so you are making the most of your financial data to make sound decisions. Contact Current Accounting, one of the best CPA firms in Charleston, SC, today to see how we can help get your finances under control!