Three Different Types of Accountant and Which Could be Best for You

By on September 17, 2021

Did you know that “accountant” is a catch-all term for a range of different professionals? Your search for an individual to assist you with your personal or professional financial matters must begin by deciding who you are looking for, and to accomplish which tasks. Depending upon your state’s laws, you may also find that there are other professionals who may be better suited to the task but who don’t call themselves accountants, such as bookkeepers! 

Whether you are searching for a professional to manage your accounts and investments, keep a record of company finances, or an agency to take control of all aspects of your monetary needs, knowing the correct term to use is a great first step. 

Certified Public Accountant

Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) are the most highly qualified general accountants. They tend to have a bachelor’s degree from a recognized school in accounting, business administration, or finance, and then they pass a strict exam to register as CPAs. They must have two years of accounting experience under their belts before they are able to take this exam. Additionally, they must continue to stay abreast of any new information or practices. A CPA who has lapsed in their further studies no longer qualifies. 

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Because CPAs must put so much time and commitment into their practice, they tend to hold high-ranking jobs, with starting salaries surpassing $50,000. They can specialize in their field, whether that is bookkeeping, auditing, or information technology. There is a very strict code of ethics, which regulates how they work with financial information. a CPA is required to work for the public interest. 

If you have a company or organization facing a financial review, or if you would like an expert to give you an overview of your financial health and advise you for the future, a CPA is a great choice. They will be able to give you a full, well-rounded picture of just how your accounts are doing and what could be improved upon. If you are a small business owner, self-employed, or looking for an accountant to help you with your personal tax return, then a CPA may be the right option.

Certified Management Accountant

A Certified Management Accountant (CMA) is another individual who has passed a set of rigorous examinations. A CMA differs from a CPA in a few notable ways. CPAs deal with regulations and taxation, while a CMA will most likely deal with management and strategy. 

A CMA may be the correct option for you if your company is looking for an expert to evaluate risk and potential, and give an overview of how to proceed. 

Differing from CPAs, a CMA is more appropriate to a business setup than to helping with personal taxes and audits. Their specialism in forecasting, planning, and analyzing data means that their skills and experience are best put to use where finances are more complex or need a little more detail. 


Depending on what you are looking for, a bookkeeper may be better suited to your needs. These are people who have a head for numbers but who have chosen not to specialize, or who haven’t gone down the route of rigorous examinations and certification.

Nevertheless, a bookkeeper is adept at tasks including recording financial data, managing invoices, and salaries and keeping bookkeeping software and platforms up to date. These may include Quickbooks and SAGE, or may simply be Excel spreadsheets. 

You may want to hire a bookkeeper to remain on staff permanently, and this will help as they will come to understand your company’s specific financial needs and management systems. They will also be able to keep you on the right track when it comes to recording expenses and other outgoings and make use of any tax relief or other financial benefits in your state. 

It is important to think carefully about what your accounting needs are and who may be able to fit the role. This will help you to narrow down the choices, so you hire the best person for your company. 

With so many different specialisms out there when it comes to accountancy, it is no wonder that some of us get confused. Luckily, with a little thought and organization, you can start to whittle down the options until you find the perfect person to assist with your financial requirements. 

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Three Different Types of Accountant and Which Could be Best for You