Some accountants provide investment-related services to their customers. As you consider which types of financial professionals to work with, here’s what you need to know about accountants.
- What they are: Accountants are trained to provide professional assistance to individuals and companies in areas including tax and financial planning, tax reporting, auditing, and management consulting.
- Who regulates them: To become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), the accountant must pass a national examination administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and meet education and experience requirements set by the state Board of Accountancy where the accountant does business. You can find out whether an accountant is licensed as a CPA in your state by contacting the state Board of Accountancy. Check the government section of your phone book to locate your state board, or visit the AICPA's website. You can also use CPA Verify, a resource provided by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy that provides licensing information for accountants in nearly every state, the District of Columbia and several U.S. Territories.
- What they offer: A CPA can help you consider the tax implications of financial decisions you make and assist with other tax-related issues, such as preparing annual tax returns. Some CPAs are also certified by the AICPA as Personal Financial Specialists (PFSs), which means they have met AICPA's education requirements for providing financial planning services, including assessing your overall financial situation, developing a budget, setting goals for saving and investing, and developing a plan for monitoring your progress and reaching your goals.