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What is an accountant?
An accountant inspects and maintains financial & tax documents. They may record financial transactions, identify trends & organize data khổng lồ create reports. If you wish lớn be an accountant, there are several types of accounting certifications you can get.
A chartered accountant is a worldwide credential that qualifies an individual to lớn offer financial consultation & keep financial records, and a certified public accountant is an accounting professional who has completed the necessary education & training to become a public accountant in the United States.
Both types of accountants complete similar tasks in the financial industry. They both offer the same job opportunities & salary expectations. There are different paths to lớn the same type of position, so you probably don’t need khổng lồ earn both certifications.
If you live in a country outside of the U.S. Or you have already completed an undergraduate degree in an industry other than accounting, then you might consider a chartered accountant certification. If you are living in the U.S. And have already completed an undergraduate degree in accounting, then you might consider becoming a certified public accountant.
Related: Learn About Being a CPA (Certified Public Accountant)
CA versus CPA qualifications
Consider the following differences when deciding which certification is right for you:
1. Governing boards
Different regulatory boards oversee two accounting certifications. Many of these boards have a reciprocity agreement, meaning that if you become certified as a CA in another country và have the document lớn identify that, then you can work as an accountant in the U.S. CPAs fall under the jurisdiction of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants governs. Only individuals in the U.S. Are eligible to lớn be a CPA.
Chartered accountants are governed by different organizations depending on the location of the individual. A few of these boards include the Chartered Accountants of Scotland, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India & the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants. Many of the CA regulatory boards are in other countries, so you will often find more CPAs than CAs in the U.S.
2. Educational requirements
The required education for each certification also differs. CPA educational requirements tend to lớn be more strict because there is one board regulating the industry. The educational requirements for the CA certification will vary by location & regulatory board. In order lớn become a CPA, an applicant must meet the following requirements:
Be at least 18 years of age
Be a U.S. Citizen with a valid social security number
Hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree or have at least 120 hours of undergraduate completed coursework
It is also important to lưu ý that educational requirements for a CPA may vary by state. Some states might require that you have more than the minimum 120 hours of completed coursework. Other states require that those credits be in specific classes.
The path khổng lồ a CPA, on average, takes approximately five years of education followed by one to two years of work experience, then 18 months of exams. Because the governing toàn thân and regulations of the chartered accountant differ by location, so vị the educational requirements. In order lớn become a CA, the applicant must:
Have completed an undergraduate degree (the CA program is a post-graduate program)
Have educational or professional experience (some boards allow individuals khổng lồ take on-the-job training instead of formal education)
To be eligible for the CA exam, you must have between three & five years of experience with an accounting employer that a governing toàn thân approved. The path to lớn a CA varies, but it often takes five years of education và two lớn three years for licensing. In some cases, you can substitute prior accounting experience to lớn shorten your educational requirements.
Related: Accountant Cover Letter
3. Exam requirements
Most institutes require an exam to kiểm tra your knowledge of coursework & workplace experience. The exam requirements vary depending on the type of certification. Certified public accountants need to lớn pass a CPA exam. CA exams tend to lớn be more educational.
The CPA exam includes four different sections on the following topics:
Auditing and attestation: This section focuses on financial statements, compliance và processes. It includes chạy thử questions about auditing & internal control practices.
Business environment và concepts: This section includes business concepts as well as the professional duties & expectations of a certified accountant. It includes corporate governance, economic concepts và overall analysis.
Financial accounting & reporting: This section tests knowledge on concepts và standards of financial statements, types of transactions & accounting events, government reporting và accounting, và nonprofit accounting.
Regulation: This section of the exam includes topics of business law, ethics and federal taxation.
In order khổng lồ pass the CPA exam, you must pass all four sections with a score of at least 75 out of 90.
The chartered accountant exam has three levels of testing:
Certificate level: This cấp độ includes six online tests which contain accounting, assurance, business technology, law, management information và principles of taxation.
Professional stage: This level includes six written papers on various accounting topics.
Advanced stage: This màn chơi includes two integral papers & a completed case study that explains relevant work experience in the industry.
4. Continuing education requirements
Many industries require that you stay informed with the latest practices và techniques through continuing education courses. The specific requirements often vary by state, but both certifications request it. Many employers are willing to lớn pay for the costs of continuing education for the accountants they employ.
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A CPA must complete 40 hours of continuing education each year. A minimum of four hours must include professional ethics. The requirements for a CA vary depending on the rules established by the board you follow.