Certified Public AccountantsNot All Accountants Can Call Themselves CPAs
In order to achieve the designation of Certified Public Accountant, an individual must meet a series of requirements that are determined by the state in which they practice. Candidates must first successfully complete a set number of courses at an accredited college or university, including upper level accounting courses. In Texas, that often leads candidates to obtain a Master’s degree in the field. Candidates must then pass a four-part exam that is widely regarded as being among the most difficult professional exams. Once the candidate has passed all parts of the exam, including an additional ethics exam and has gained the required professional experience under the supervision of a current CPA, he or she is entitled to practice as a Certified Public Accountant.
The requirements of a CPA continue beyond the initial licensing process. A CPA must complete an average of 40 hours of continuing education per year. Continuing education courses are designed to keep professionals abreast of changes in regulations, standards, and best practices. Finally, CPAs are also bound by a strict code of professional ethics.
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