Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) hold titles such as "Managing Partner," "Chief Executive Officer" and "Controller." They are outgoing, creative and analytical. They are male, female and come from every ethnic and cultural background. You can choose to work in large or small firms or in any type of business imaginable. You can also work for government agencies like the FBI, in non-profit organizations like the Red Cross, or you could even own your own company. You may be found in a client's office, on business trips, at lunch meetings and at charitable functions.
The reason for this diversity is simple:
CPAs are the trusted professionals who enable people and organizations to shape their future. Combining insight with integrity, CPAs deliver value by:
- Communicating the total picture with clarity and objectivity;
- Translating complex information into critical knowledge;
- Anticipating and creating opportunities;
- Designing pathways that transform vision into reality.
If you think accountants and other business advisors are alike, think again. Those who are able to call themselves "CPAs" have met stringent education and experience requirements, must perform their work in accordance with high-quality technical and professional standards and adhere to a strict code of professional ethics. Individuals work hard to obtain the "CPA" designation, and they are committed to working even harder to deliver the value that it conveys.
What is the Difference Between Public and Private Accounting?
When students begin an accounting career, one of the first decisions they should consider is which area of the profession they wish to focus on.
Why Consider a Career in Public Accounting?
Some graduates may choose to work in public accounting. In public accounting, the CPA serves many clients as an objective assistant or in an advisory capacity. The public sector includes working in a certified public accounting firm (large, small or individual) servicing clients such as closely-held, family-owned businesses and small, publicly-owned companies. Local and regional firms make up more than 90 percent of the practice units in New Jersey.
Clients operate in a broad range of industries, from manufacturing and distribution to real estate and financial services. Public accounting services generally include audit, compilation and review, tax planning and preparation, personal financial planning, management advisory services and litigation support services. This provides the opportunity to work with many different types of businesses and to tailor a variety of services to meet each client's individual needs. And, more and more CPAs in public are expanding their services to include elder care, litigation support, technology and personal financial planning.
Why Consider a Career in Private Accounting?
Some graduates may choose to work in private accounting. The private sector includes CPAs working in government, education, not-for-profit and business and has been expanding rapidly during the past several years. In fact, business and industry members are now almost half of the NJSCPA's membership. CPAs in business typically are responsible for developing, producing and analyzing data useful for making business decisions and for reporting to internal and external interested parties.
Government accountants are hired to work in a wide range of positions in federal, state and local governments. Accounting educators are on the faculty of professional schools of accounting, colleges of business administration, community colleges and graduate schools of business. CPAs in business and industry work for companies ranging from family-owned businesses to Fortune 500 companies. CPAs in the private sector are considered strategic business partners of their organizations and work in a variety of different areas including financial management, financial reporting, internal audit, management accounting, tax planning and non-financial positions.