What services can a CPA provide?
What is a CPA?
The word “CPA” stands for a “Certified Public Accountant”, and is hired to perform a number of advisory roles for their clients. CPAs can be many things. Some are chief financial officers for Fortune 500 companies and some are advisors to small businesses. A CPA can work for public accounting firms, both small and large. They act as strategic business advisors and decision-makers, consultants on many issues, including taxes and accounting.
In case you were wondering how a CPA can help you we gathered below a list of the most common services:
Preparation of Audits and reviews:
This primary task of a CPA is to perform an audit to the books of their clients. Should the resulting financial statements of said client meet the criteria of the CPA’s evaluation, then they will issue an audit opinion regarding the financial statements. Such opinion also accompanies the statements when they are issued to third parties. Another form of audit is a review, which is a lesser form, that clients may prefer due to its lower cost.
Clients may hire a CPA for a number of consulting activities. Such activities include describing possible strategic options, advising on the adequacy of a system of controls, or advising regarding the installation of information systems.
You are probably familiar with this service area the most. CPA are mainly hired to advise on the tax strategies of their clients. Such service also includes the preparation of their tax returns. With tax liens climbing through the roof, this is probably one of the most important services a CPA provides.
A select number of CPAs specialize in the performance of forensic accounting services. Such services include reconstruction of destroyed financial records or the investigation of whether fraudulent activities took place.
A client may hire a CPA to perform financial planning advice. Financial planning advice includes advice such as how to sale your business to a buyer while incurring the minimum amount of short-term tax impact on the client, this area can also expand to estate planning, so that clients can bequeath assets with a minimum tax cost to its recipients.
In some cases you may hire A CPA in order to receive a detailed analysis that is required by an attorney to present a winning case in the court of law. Such skills are needed for such litigations as divorce, financial disputes, bankruptcy proceedings, to name a few. An experienced CPA can also provide testimony as an expert witness and can influence greatly on your case.
If you’re shopping to hire an accounting firm, consider hiring from among those who offer specialized services. Such specialized services include business valuation, to help determine what your business is worth in case you are considering a merger, sale or acquisition. A growing number of accounting firms also offer what is referred to as “information system services”. Such services examine the integrity and security of your computer systems and examine the practices that your company uses to process and protect information. In the unfortunate event that your business is the subject of a legal dispute or if you suspect that something has gone wrong in your financial arena (embezzlement or fraud), then consider hiring a firm that offers fraud and forensic accounting services. Such firms investigate complicated financial documents to uncover any illegal or fraudulent activity.
All CPAs are accountants, but not all accountants are CPAs (Certified Public Accountants). The main difference is education, experience, and opportunity.