Accounting Is More Than Numbers – Who’s Who in Accounting
The world of accounting is populated with lots of players. There are the people who put the numbers together, the people who analyze and report on those numbers, and the people for whom those reports are compiled. Having a handle on who does what can help you get a handle on your role, as well as who may best be able to help you when you decide you want assistance.
In the business of accounting, there are three basic ﬂavors: public, private, and government. Public accounting professionals sell their services to (as you might guess from the name) the general public. Private accounting is also called in-house, and covers the accounting staff of one company.
Government accounting professionals (again, no surprise here) work for the government—from the tiniest county seat to the U.S. Government Account- ability Ofﬁce (GAO).
There also are different types of accounting professionals, such as book- keepers and accountants and tax preparers and auditors. Some specialize in one distinct area, such as bookkeeping or income tax returns, and others perform a wide variety of services.
Certiﬁed public accountants (CPAs) provide the highest level of services to the public, due in part to their additional education, experience, and testing requirements. CPAs jump through a lot of hoops to earn and maintain state certiﬁcation, including stringent continuing education requirements that ensure they will always know the most current information and issues.