The Accounting Profession

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Many small business owners try to juggle the role of entrepreneur and accountant. While some are skilled at it, others need to hire an accountant to be responsible for the processing, reporting and auditing of their business’ financial information. Accountants have a gift and training for working with numbers and interpreting financial data. People with these gifts and interests will select a career in accounting.

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Types of Accountants

There are a variety of classifications for the specializations in accounting. The list below are of the main professions that have certified programs.

  • Certified Public Accountant (CPA): This is a prestigious title for the accounting profession. To receive it, you must meet certain educational requirements, pass a difficult qualifying exam, have state approved public accounting experience. The licensing authority that offers this approval is the State Board of Accounting. Many CPAs are proficient in state and federal tax accounting so they are competent to give tax services to their clients. Often CPAs are employed by a public accounting firm. However, some might operate their own accounting practice or work for a corporation, nonprofit or governmental organization.
  • Certified Management Accountant (CMA): To obtain this certification, you must fulfill educational requirements, pass a strenuous exam, and meet other requirements established by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA). The IMA then grants a certificate to qualifying recipients. Unlike CPAs, CMAs are not certified by the state. A common place of employment for CMAs is a business that requires useful accounting information for internal managers.
  • Certified Internal Auditor (CIA): For this designation,  you must meet the educational requirements, pass a difficult exam created by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA). With this certification, CIAs are prepared to assure the integrity of the accounting system, review financial and management practices and recommend improvements to the business or governmental organization for which they work.
  • Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE): This specialization concentrates on the detection, investigation and prevention of fraud. It is given by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE). With this specialty, you are considered a forensic accountant or fraud auditor. CFEs are employed by federal agencies like the CIA, FBI and Drug Enforcement Agency.