Differences between CPA and Accountant?

Before going to the differences between CPA and Accountant, let’s look at their definitions.

Certified Public Accountant (CPA):

Certified Public Accountant is a designation given to the person who passed the CPA exam. The designation of CPA helps in enforcing the professional standards in accounting. Every CPA must meet the educational requirements like a bachelor’s degree in finance, business administration or accounting. CPAs can audit financial statements like income and balance sheets.


The regular Accountant does the reporting and recording of financial transactions. Anyone who does accounting without any professional degree can call themselves as an accountant. Without any certification degree, the accountants can perform some tasks like general accounting and bookkeeping.

Now, you are curious to learn the differences, right?

Here’s the thing.

Differences between CPA and Accountant:

The differences between CPA and Accountant can be observed in four key factors.

  • Licensing
  • Fiduciary Responsibility
  • Taxes & Regulations
  • State Requirements & Ethics Codes

Let’s look in detail.


CPAs have passed the strict requirements of licensing to intend for the practice. The candidate who wants to perceive a CPA degree must complete 150 hours of college coursework, including auditing and upper-level accounting. Under the supervision of a CPA, the candidate must pass the test of auditing, business and accounting skills. Whereas the non-CPAs don’t need any licensing.

Fiduciary Responsibility:

To have a financial statement audit, the Certified Public Accountant needs to perform the required services and issue the reports. The CPAs are considered to be a power to act on behalf of the clients and legal duty.

Taxes and Regulations:

Accountants can prepare a proper return tax, but whereas the CPA provides various advantages to the clients than the Accountant who has no CPA certification.

CPA has more knowledge in tax codes like continuing education requirements and CPA licensing examination. Another critical factor is the CPAs must represent the clients before the IRS, but whereas the Accountant no needs to express.

State Requirements and Ethic Codes:

The main difference between the CPA and Accountant is licensing. But there is another thing called a code of ethics. CPA follows the ethics codes, but whereas Accountants not.

Still, you want to know about more differences between CPA and Accountant:

Here’re they:

Certified Public Accountant


CPA is an accountant who has met licensing requirements.

The Accountant job is to keep financial accounts.

Represents a taxpayer before the IRS.

Has no standing with the IRS.

Required to have a license in providing attestation services.

No need to provide attestation services.

Represents the clients during tax audits.

Cannot represent the clients during tax audits.

License is required.

No need for a license.

Comparatively Higher Cost.

Low Cost when compared to CPA.

American Institute of Certified Public Accountant is the governing body.

No specific governing body.

When compared to Accountants the salary of CPAs is high.

The salary of an Accountant is low.

All CPAs are accountants.

All Accountants are not CPAs.


The above article gives you the differences between the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and the regular Accountant. Hope this article is helpful to you. If you have any queries regarding these differences, feel free to comment in the below section. Happy Learning!

Simandhar Education:

Simandhar is the official partner of Becker and AICPA - Largest Training provider for US CPA, US CMA , IFRS and EA courses in India with offices in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Gurgaon, Kerala, Cochin (Kochi), Trivandrum, Kottayam, Kozhikode, Malappuram, Chennai, and Mumbai.

Learn how to use CPA, from First basics to advanced techniques, with online video tutorials taught by Industry Experts. Simandhar Education is best leading CPA Online Training in Hyderabad. Contact [email protected] 919390785925.



  1. Shipra

    Thanks for explaining

  2. suma

    Nice Blog.....

Add Comment