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CPA

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A CPA, the common acronym for Certified Public Accountant, is an accountant licensed by a state board to engage in public accounting. The requirements to become a CPA vary by state, but each CPA candidate must pass the Uniform CPA Examination and fulfill certain experience requirements. After gaining certification, a CPA is required to take continuing professional education courses to keep current on developments in the field. Both a CPA and a non-CPA can offer services in a wide range of accounting areas -- such as tax preparation, forensic accounting, and estate planning -- and often perform similar duties. Only a CPA, however, can express an opinion on whether the financial statements of a public company present fairly its financial position. Thus public companies commonly hire a CPA firm to prepare the annual 10-K required by the Securities and Exchange Commission This form provides a comprehensive overview of the company's business and financial condition and includes audited financial statements.



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