Accounting vs CPA

The key difference between Accounting vs CPA is that Accounting is the process of recording, maintaining as well as reporting the financial affairs of the company which shows the clear financial position of company, whereas, CPA is the designation which is given to those individuals who clears the CPA examination by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Differences Between Accounting vs CPA

What is Accounting?

  • Accounting is basically the recording and reporting of financial transactions. Anyone who does accounting functions can call themselves an accountant, even without a professional degree in accounting, although usually, an accountant does have an accounting-related degree.
  • Often, accountants with no certification perform tasks such as bookkeeping, looking after general accounting matters, and taking care of some tax-related matters. However, all accountants with some training and experience can perform an extensive range of services.

You are free to use this image on your website, templates etc, Please provide us with an attribution linkHow to Provide Attribution?Article Link to be Hyperlinked
For eg:
Source: Accounting vs CPA (

What is CPA?

Let us discuss the differences between Accounting vs. CPA in detail –

Best CPA Review
Surgent CPA Review
350 Videos
7,700 Questions
Free Trial
Rating 4.8/5
Becker CPA Review
500+ Videos
9,200 Questions
Free Trial
Rating 5/5
Universal CPA Review
250+ hrs Videos
9,200+ Question
Free Trial
Rating 4.5/5

Accounting vs. CPA Infographics

Here we provide you with the top 9 differences between Accounting vs. CPA

You are free to use this image on your website, templates etc, Please provide us with an attribution linkHow to Provide Attribution?Article Link to be Hyperlinked
For eg:
Source: Accounting vs CPA (

Accounting vs. CPA Key Differences

Here are the critical differences between Accounting vs. CPA –

#1 – Licensing

#2 – Fiduciary Responsibility

  • CPAs are considered some of the business world’s most trusted advisers, according to a survey conducted by the AICPA.
  • Many businesses that are required to have a financial statement audit will find that only a CPA is capable of performing these services and issue the necessary reports.
  • In addition, CPAs are considered the ones with a legal duty and power to act on behalf of and in the best interest of their clients. Non-CPA accountants are not considered to be fiduciaries to their clients.

#3 – Taxes and Regulations

  • Accountants without a CPA certification may prepare a proper tax return, but a CPA provides distinct advantages to clients that non-CPAs cannot offer.
  • Many CPAs are more knowledgeable in tax codes because of the rigorous CPA licensing examination and continuing education requirements. Another critical factor is that CPAs are eligible to represent clients before the IRS, while a non-CPA accountant is not.

#4 – State Requirements and Codes of Ethics

  • CPAs are also expected to follow a strict code of ethics and meet the high standards of the profession, as having the license is not the only requirement to be a CPA.

#5 – Cost and Expenses

  • The cost and expenses in pursuing CPA are higher when compared to pursuing accountancy courses/certifications.

Accounting vs. CPA Head to Head Differences

Now, let’s look at the head to head differences between Accounting and CPA

Basis of Comparison between Accountants vs. CPAAccountingCPA
MeaningAccounting is a processor work of keeping financial accounts. An accountant is a person whose job is to keep financial accounts.A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is an accountant who has met state licensing requirements.
AttestationThe accountant cannot provide attestation services.You are required to have a CPA license to provide attestation services.
LicensingNo License is required to be an accountant.The license is required to be a CPA.
Standing before IRSThe accountant has no standing with the IRS (Internal Revenue Services)CPAs can represent a taxpayer before the IRS (Internal Revenue Services)
Signing Tax ReturnsAccountants cannot sign tax returns or represent clients during tax Audits before IRS.CPAs can sign tax returns and also represent clients during tax audits before the IRS.
Governing BodyNo specific Governing Body.The governing body for CPAs is the American institute of certified public accountants.
CostLow cost compared to CPAs.Comparatively Higher Cost.
SalaryThe salary of an accountant is comparatively lower than CPAs.The salary of CPAs is higher when compared to an accountant.
ConclusionAll accountants are not CPAs.All CPAs are accountants.

Accounting vs. CPA – Final Thoughts

This has been a guide to the top differences between Accounting vs. CPA. Here we also discuss the Accounting and CPA key differences along with Example, Infographics, History, and comparison table. You may also have a look at the following articles –

Reader Interactions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *