Accountant, Bookkeeper, or CPA. What’s the difference anyway?

I WAS NEVER A CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANT. I JUST HAD A DEGREE IN ACCOUNTING. IT WOULD REQUIRE PASSING A TEST, WHICH I WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN ABLE TO DO.
BOB NEWHART

I can relate to Bob’s statement. I am frequently mistaken to be a certified public accountant (CPA). I am constantly explaining the fact that I am a very talented accountant and tax preparer who wanted to be a CPA at some point.  To Joe Blow on the street, that last statement means absolutely nothing. Honestly, sometimes I think the Joe Blows of the world really don’t know what a CPA does. Yet, I receive suspicious stares when I state that I am not a CPA.

I could have explained in depth and given a detailed description of each professional. As I began to write, the blog post was almost 3 pages. Way too long! Let’s highlight the key differences between the financial professional in a simple way:

In my personal and professional opinion, a CPA is similar to wine.  People often assume that the older and more expensive the wine is, the better the wine will taste. However, someone could enjoy a $15 bottle of chardonnay more so than a bottle that costs $85. Some people pick financial professionals in the same fashion. The older the CPA is and the higher the hourly charge, the more likely someone like me will get passed over. But AICPA explains difference between a CPA and someone like me as follows:

“All CPAs are accountants, but not all accountants are Certified Public Accountants. The principal differences between accountants and CPAs are education, experience, and opportunity…A CPA certification distinguishes one from other business professionals – the benefits are increased trust, opportunity, and financial reward.”

I have a lot attributes that allow me to compete with CPAs. Using the chart above, I highlighted how I measure up to the competition.Click here!

To make myself even more competitive, I will be taking the Special Enrollment exam after April 15, 2012 and before May 31, 2013. Once I pass the exam, I will have unlimited practice rights before the IRS just like a CPA.

Jéneen R. Perkins is a freelance accountant and consultant serving entrepreneurs, families and small businesses. She prides herself in being fluent in English instead of “Accountant-ese”.

Category:Uncategorized