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An accountant provides accounting services to individuals, businesses, non-profit organizations, and governmental entities. Because accounting services range widely, an accountant is likely to specialize in a specific field. A cost accountant records and analyzes the costs associated with production. A forensic accountant provides analytical and investigative skills in legal proceedings. A tax accountant assists in the preparation of tax returns and in devising tax strategies. An auditor is an accountant who tests the accuracy, integrity, and fairness of financial statements through various accounting tests. There are no specific requirements to become an accountant, or to call oneself an accountant. Nevertheless, most accountants will have a four-year college degree. Moreover, an accountant who has met certain education requirements can try to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), an accountant who is licensed by state boards of accountancy to express an opinion on company financial statements. To become a Certified Public Accountant, an accountant must pass a rigorous exam and work as an auditor in a CPA firm for an extended period, often two years.

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