One of the most pressing questions for individuals and businesses is whether to hire a certified public accountant (CPA) or an accounting firm. The most important difference is that CPAs are allowed to sign tax returns for clients and represent them during a tax audit. Accountants don’t have the same standing with the IRS. All CPAs are accountants, but not all accountants are CPAs. A CPA has an advanced level of rigorous training, expertise and certification.

The success of any business relies on its financial health and individuals need to choose the right professional for their needs. The terms CPA and accountant are often used interchangeably, but there are distinct differences.


An accountant provides basic bookkeeping tasks and can verify the work of an in-house bookkeeper.  They create reports and analyze those documents to generate long-term business plans. The professionals file tax returns and provide tax planning advice. An accountant can perform cash flow management and provide projections, along with bookkeeping services.

Accountants record, maintain and interpret financial records. They ensure the accuracy of financial documents, evaluate operations and can recommend best practices for clients. Accountants can create forecasts, perform risk analysis, and provide guidance on reducing costs and enhancing revenues.


A CPA provides all the services of an accountant and more, especially forensic accounting. They’re able to detect irregularities ranging from embezzlement to tax evasion. In addition to passing the stringent CPA certification exam, to keep their license, CPAs must also complete yearly educational requirements.

CPAs can legally represent clients before the IRS in the event of an audit. A CPA can file taxes and they utilize the most advanced financial software on the market that’s not available to the average individual. They’re experts in financial planning, provide clients with profit and loss statements, and can assist with profit-sharing and employee benefit packages. CPAs provide the data that business owners need to make sound decisions for the future of their company.

At Peavy and Associates PC our mission is to assist you with all your tax preparations, payroll and accounting needs.  We provide our clients with professional, personalized accounting services and guidance in a wide range of financial and business needs. Give us a call today and discover why our clients return to Peavy and Associates, PC year after year!


Contact Us Today