CPAs – otherwise known as a Certified Public Accountant – are all accountants, but not all accountants are CPAs!
CPAs are accounting professionals that apply their expertise to a variety of finance-focused areas including, but not limited to, public accounting, attestation services, creating or advising on financial statements, executing financial planning for individuals or businesses, performing financial accounting, providing consulting services, and financial management.
Obtaining a CPA license requires candidates to meet a specific amount of certification requirements. Before even thinking about sitting for the CPA exam, potential certified public accountants must obtain a Bachelor’s degree in either accounting or finance from an accredited college or university; the American Institute of CPAs – or the AICPA – recommends completing at least 150 credit hours of coursework during this time. Prior to taking the CPA exam, most states require at least two years of work experience, however specific work experience requirements are dictated by each respective state board of accountancy.
Once fulfilling all education and experience requirements, you’ll have to tackle the CPA exam and pass all four sections within 18 months.