The general duties of a certified public accountant are to prepare and analyze financial documents for both individuals and businesses. Specific tasks include auditing company financial records, guiding budget and financial management, acting as a source of financial advice, watching accounts payable and receivable, and forecasting financial revenue.
Additional specific tasks of a certified public accountant include issuing recommendations about how an individual or business can save money; helping with tax returns and ensuring timely payment of taxes; identifying errors, misinformation, fraud, and overspending; and performing tasks that entail bookkeeping, preparation of government audits, taxes and financial planning.
A certified public accountant is an outside agent of the individuals or companies the accountant serves. The accountant uses standards like the Generally Accepted Auditing Standards and the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles to evaluate financial statements. These standards, as well as the external nature of the accountant's job, help ensure both integrity and accuracy. Examples of the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles include the principle of regularity, principle of the permanence of methods, principle of non-compensation, principle of prudence and principle of full disclosure/materiality.
Requirements for certified public accountants may include either a bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance or a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an accounting concentration.