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.
Who 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
Each state has a Board of Accountancy that has the authority to regulate all licensed accounting professionals—certified public accountants (CPAs) or public accountants—and the services these professionals are authorized to perform. To become a 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 your state board. 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 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.
Learn more about working with an investment professional.