Why Accountants Should Consider a CPA Designation

Accountants are invaluable for businesses. They provide financial guidance and manage the books, supporting a business’ growth and success.

But what happens when you’re ready to take your career to the next level? In our article, we’re covering the difference between an accountant and a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA), the benefits of the CPA designation and the versatility of a CPA career path.

Man with green sweater, walking and smiling with coffee in hand

What is the difference between a CPA and an accountant?

The key differences between a CPA and an accountant are:

  • expertise
  • responsibilities
  • professional standards

CPAs can do all the tasks done by accountants, but accountants cannot do all the tasks of a CPA. For example, CPAs can undertake work like auditing financial statements. CPAs have a high level of specialized knowledge, are trained on more complex tasks and can fulfill a wide variety of duties.

CPAs are also required to complete ongoing professional development to retain their designation (120 hours every three years), which ensures they are always ahead of the curve on the latest regulations, thinking and best practices. Accountants do not have to complete this requirement.

CPAs are highly regulated, insured and serve the public interest. CPAs have a legal duty and power to act on behalf of their clients, and they must comply with a code of conduct and other requirements.

What are the benefits of CPA certification for accountants?

CPAs, like accountants, are in high demand. However, with a CPA designation, you will be positioned for accelerated career growth, broader opportunities and higher salaries.

Given the extensive training involved in earning the designation, CPAs are more likely to move into senior positions as trusted advisors and strategic problem solvers.

The CPA community also offers opportunities to network with like-minded professionals, whether through conferences, professional development courses, or local associations.

Read more about the versatility and benefits of becoming a CPA our article 6 Reason to Become a CPA.

What can an accountant do with a CPA designation?

The opportunities for CPAs are limitless. CPAs, like our Emerging Leaders, enjoy the flexibility to work in any sector and in a wide variety of positions.

Here are just a few examples:

Check out this list of seven unique career paths you could pursue with a CPA designation.

The CPA certification program will set you up to succeed wherever your career takes you. Check out our Guide to Becoming a CPA or sign up for one of our information sessions to get started.