When tax time rolls around, confusion abounds for many people. Tax codes get increasingly confusing, and unearthing all of the correct tax breaks and laws can be a nightmare to sort out on your own. Utilizing a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), can clear some of the fog around this cumbersome annual process, but a lot of people don’t know all of the benefits of using a Wichita CPA.
Here’s a quick look at what it means to be a CPA, and how they can help you get more from your tax return while removing the headaches of the process.
Earning the CPA Distinction
CPAs are some of the most trusted professionals around because they have to go through a rigorous exam to earn the distinction. The CPA Exam and a number of other licensure requirements are needed to get through the process. Each state has different requirements to achieve the license, and most are typically only licensed in a single state. This distinction has become synonymous with reliability and industry knowledge.
Not all accountants are CPAs. Any person that interprets and maintains financial records can be considered an accountant, but CPAs are able to perform other services like tax preparation, audits, financial planning, and consulting in numerous areas – such as tax consulting or litigation consulting. Earning the CPA distinction broadens the scope of what accountants can do, both in and out of the realm of accounting.
Why Should I Use a CPA?
CPAs are different than accountants not only because of the high standards they need to meet for licensure, but also because of what they need to continue to do after earning the designation. CPAs are licensed by a professional governing body, and have to maintain a distinct code of ethics. In order to maintain the distinction, CPAs must take part in continuing education to make sure they stay abreast of any shifts or changes.
CPAs are also held to a fiduciary standard, which means they legally have to put their clients’ interest above everything else. These stringent standards are upheld by the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA) and that organization’s code of conduct. They’re also recognized by the government as experts that can perform specific accounting functions that other accountants cannot.
Among these duties are conducting company audits as an external third party. These always should be handled by a CPA, as should the preparation of audited financial statements. This is required for any reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). CPAs can also act as representation for taxpayers and businesses when facing an audit by the IRS. Accountants might be able to prepare your tax return, but a CPA is needed to defend that return against questions form the authorities.
CPAs are valuable resources for anything dealing with your financials – both individual and for your business. For more information on the differences between a CPA and a regular accountant, or to learn how a CPA can help, reach out to the experts at Wichita Tax Advisor today.