Accountant Qualifications

When considering becoming a CPA, it is important to learn Accountant Qualifications and requirements. To fill in the position as a staff accountant, an individual must be highly skilled. In a company, this position is within the purview of the finance department. A staff accountant reports directly to either an accounting manager or a finance director depending on the structure of the company. He may also have to supervise employees working under him.

A staff accountant`s duties are basically to perform accounting and budgetary work and other financially related tasks as required by the accounting manager or finance director. He will also be required to prepare financial statements and reports, analyze costs, maintain budget files, interpret and analyze financial records. His duties also include preparing bank reconciliations.

He also needs to apply principles of accounting in analyzing financial information in preparing monthly internal reports. He must also be able to interact with the various departments throughout the company. This is a highly-skilled position. As such, the individual needs to at least have graduated from an accredited college or university with a B.S. in Accounting. Certification as Public Accountant would be an advantage. Experience in a related field would deem the individual a highly desirable candidate for employment.

A staff accountant would have duties and responsibilities that require not only accounting knowledge but also knowledge of the current accounting practices. As such, a staff accountant must always keep abreast of the current financial news. He also needs excellent communication skills in order to convey information to the board of directors as well as in assigning duties to his subordinates. With these duties and responsibilities, a staff accountant may expect to work more than 40+ hours a week and may need to put in additional time as and when is required.

To differentiate between a qualified CPA, and other accountants, many States in the country use the words Public Accountant or PA. People who do not have the required qualifications, experience, and education are not allowed to use the words CPAs or Certified Public Accountant to represent their qualifications. In the United Kingdom, Chartered Accountants are the professionals who carry out the same functions as the CPA does in the United States. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants defines the criteria on which the candidates appearing for the Uniform CPA exam should be tested. The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy manages the entire process.

Each state has a State Board of Accountancy, and this board identifies who can appear for this profession's examination, i.e., the Uniform CPA examination. As a general rule, the candidate who would like to qualify as CPA should hold a bachelors degree given by a U.S. university. Only the bachelor's degree through which student puts in specified number of credit hours (150 hours) studying accountancy, and business administration is considered to the right qualification for this purposes. In addition to this, there is an added year's study is stipulated as well. The entire study period takes 5 years. In all, this pattern of studying for CPA course is accepted by 45 states in the country. Chartered Accountants who are also Chartered Certified Accountants can appear for the Uniform CPA Exam through Colorado State Board of Accountancy. Qualified accountants from other countries can also qualify as CPAs, if they appear for International Qualification Examination.