Accountants are finance professionals who mainly prepare and review financial reports. They also file tax returns, keep track of income and expenditure, and perform audits.
Accountants need to navigate the complex financial minefield as part of their daily job, but they also need to know all about best practices, necessary certifications, and the ever-changing licensing and state regulations.
This guide is a compilation of all the resources available to accountants and accounting students. All information on this page has been verified by a CPA to confirm authority and trustworthiness.
Accounting Standards Boards and Regulations
The responsibilities and burdens of accounting standards might seem complex. When it comes to licensing regulations, U.S. state and territory boards of accountancy are the primary authorities for their jurisdictions, meaning that the U.S. does not have a single national board for licensing.
However, national boards do regulate accounting best practices and professional standards. Some of these large-scale organizations are formed around specific activities, like investing and government accounting.
- State Boards of Accountancy: This directory includes the phone numbers, addresses, and contact information for 55 U.S. state and territory boards of accountancy. Since there is no national licensure board, the state boards define the CPA standards for each jurisdiction. Professionals rely on them for initial licensure, renewals, firm registration and practice guidelines.
- National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA): This umbrella organization for the 55 state and territory boards advocates for regulatory laws, accessible CPA training, and state sovereignty in making accountancy licensure decisions. NASBA also provides CPAs with professional services like a National CPA database, licensing library, and education tools.
- Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board (FASAB): This regulatory board sets federal financial reporting and accounting standards. Members include six public and three federal members.
- Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB): An independent standards board for accountancy regulations applied to state and local governments in the United States. Professionals can subscribe to GASB Online, a virtual library of all board pronouncements and implementations.
- Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC): This agency of the federal government enforces investor and securities protections. It oversees five divisions: Corporation Finance, Investment Management, Trading and Markets, Economic and Risk Analysis, and Enforcement.
- International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS/IASB): The IFRS Foundation is a nonprofit that oversees industry guidelines at a global level, while the IASB works as its independent standards-setting board. Both of these organizations host public meetings accountants can attend in-person or through web conferencing tools.
- Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB): This private, independent body is responsible for setting and maintaining accounting standards for public, private, and nonprofit organizations. The FASB uses Generally Accepted Accounting Principles as its foundation.
- International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (IPSASB): This independent organization works to improve financial reporting and accounting standards for the public sector worldwide.
- FASAB Handbook of Accounting Standards and Other Pronouncements: A current version of the FASAB Handbook is available as a free PDF download. Topics covered include federal standards statements, technical bulletins, and interpretations.
- AICPA Statements and Standards: Quickly refer to industry standards governing practice areas such as professional conduct, peer review, and taxes by browsing this web-based reference tool.
- FASB Accounting Standards Codification: Professionals who are working with non-government organizations can refer to this database of accepted accounting principles (GAAP) cataloged by the FASB. While the basic version is free to access, the professional subscription requires an annual payment of $1,197.
- GASB Pronouncements: Statements on concepts, technical bulletins, standards, and interpretations issued by GASB are available as free downloads on their website.
- US SEC Publications for Investors: This digital library includes links to dozens of SEC publications on topics like arbitration, investment companies, trading securities, and stock.
New CPAs should monitor the renewal requirements defined by their own state's board of accountancy, since these vary based on jurisdiction.CPAs are expected to gain new professional skill sets by earning continuing professional education (CPE) credits obtained through AICPA- and NASBA-approved classes, conference workshops, and webinars.
Continuing Education for CPAs
- AICPA CPE: This national resource for prospective and current CPAs offers continuing education in three formats: a library of 350 self-study online courses, webinars, and site-based training in locations across the U.S.
- NASBA Registry of CPE Sponsors: This database of 1,900 NASBA-approved continuing education courses are provided across the nation. Prospective students can narrow their search with parameters like date offered, subject area, state, delivery method, and type of credit.
- Surgent CPE: Surgent is an online CPE provider for accounting professionals, and offers courses and webinars in both live and self-paced formats. The platform and instructors make Surgent one of the best CPE programs today.
Advanced or Alternative Certification
- Certified Management Accountant (CMA): This professional credential enables accountants to specialize in cost and management accounting. According to the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), accountants with the CMA certification can earn 1/3 more than non-certified accountants.
- Although similar, the IMA is an American organization whilethe CIMA is a UK-based body that offers rigorous, globally recognized certification programs for accounting professionals. The CIMA has a much larger presence around the world, exceeding 200,000 members.
- The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA): Accountants can expand their professional horizons with up to six different global certifications on topics like risk management assurance, government auditing, and financial services.
- Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA): Professionals who wish to specialize in IT concerns can gain a global certificate that places an emphasis on the risk management, security, and governance of information systems.
- Certified Financial Planner (CFP): Accounting professionals aspiring to be a financial planner could take the exam for a CFP certification, which validates skills and boosts reputation and earning potential.
- Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE): Financial professionals interested in fraud prevention could enhance their employability and salary potential with the Certified Fraud Examiner certification.
- Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA): An esteemed, internationally recognized designation for any financial analyst, a CFA certification proves superior knowledge and expertise in the field of investment analysis.
- Certified Public Bookkeeper (CPB): A professional accreditation, such as the CPB, can set bookkeepers apart from their uncertified competition.
Licensure for Accounting Firms
Ultimately, state and territory boards of accountancy regulate accounting firm licensure processes. Firms can take certain steps to meet the requirements across multiple jurisdictions, especially if these firms operate in several states. The following resources play a significant role in the firm licensing process.
- Accountancy Licensing Library: This NASBA database gives accountancy firms a single point of reference for licensing requirements across all 55 U.S. jurisdictions. Accountants can save customized searches and export them into Excel.
- CPA Verify: Firms can use this free online national database to keep track of CPAs' current licensing statuses without having to sift through listings for each state board. Search parameters include name, license number, and state of licensure.
CPAs are thoroughly acquainted with the level of hard work and dedication needed to get licensed in a single state. The idea of moving a CPA practice can seem very daunting. Find out which states will honor an out-of-state CPA license at CPAMobility.org.
Accounting Resources for Networking
Networking is not only a good way fornew accounting professionals to get a foot in the door, but also a means of staying updated on the latest trends and industry standards. By joining professional organizations, professionals can attend national and global networking events.
- State CPA Associations: CPAs should get in touch with their respective state society to learn about networking events, local CPE opportunities, publications, relevant legislative updates and policy changes. Membership fees vary.
- American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA): Network on a national level by attending some of the 60 different annual AICPA conferences on auditing, accounting practice and regulation.
- International Federation of Accountants (IFAC): Contribute to the global community of accountants by attending IFAC and partner organization events in cities like London, Rome, New York, and Toronto.
- American Accounting Association (AAA): Members attend regional meetings, research conferences, and bootcamps that are hosted multiple times each year. Additionally, AAA membership comes with access to an exclusive job board, publication opportunities, and CPE programs.
- Association of Accounting and Financial Professionals in Business (IMA): The same organization that oversees CMA certification is also the home to a bustling, 70,000-member professional networking experience. Benefits include a proprietary online community, access to local chapter events, and discounted admission for the IMA Annual Conference and Exposition.
- National Society of Accountants (NSA): Dedicated to professionals who work within the fields of auditing, accounting, management services, and estate planning, members can take advantage of CPE and join the "Find a Professional" directory.
- National Association of Tax Professionals (NATB): Tax preparers who join the NATB can trade resources and connect via local chapter events or attend the National Conference and Expo at a discounted rate. Alternatively, nonmembers can gain a complementary single year of membership by purchasing a 4-day pass to the national conference.
- Global Body for Professional Accountants (ACCA): Members of the ACCA participate in vibrant communities both online and in-person. Join and follow along with local and national event listings on ACCA's members-only LinkedIn groups and Twitter events feed. This organization also hosts annual International Public Sector and Alternative Finance conferences.
- The Professional Association of Small Business Accountants (PASBA): This professional society is open to Enrolled Agents and CPAs practicing within the United States. PASBA hosts three conferences each year on marketing, management, and training. PASBA members can also connect with one another through online forums, regional meetings, and mentorship programs.
Events and Conferences
- AICPA and CIMA Practitioners and TECH+: This two-day event comprises four programs on national practice, digital CPA processes and technology, a practitioners symposium, and a business development summit.
- IMA Annual Conference and Expo: IMA has been hosting annual conferences for almost a full century. Join other business, finance, and accounting professionals for a three-day event full of presentations by industry leaders, product showcases, and networking meetups.
- AFP Treasury & Finance Conference: The Association for Finance Professionals hosts a three-day networking event every year, complete with celebrity speakers and educational sessions.
- Digital CPA: The AICPA hosts DCPA, all about new and emerging accounting technology and how to leverage it for success and growth.
The world of finance is alwayschanging, and an accountant's work must be on a par with the current standards and practices. Websites, blogs, journals, trade magazines, and social media are some of the ways to stay tuned to new developments in this field.
- Strategic Finance: IMA's magazine comes to subscribers once a month, highlighting tech, practice, and standards updates that impact the way accountants and finance professionals work.
- Corporate Accounting: Tune into this Economist online newsfeed to read up on international corporate accounting news and track the latest standards.
- AB: This ACCA publication is dedicated to the continued professional development of accountants. Many articles have multiple-choice quizzes so readers can test themselves while catching up on the latest corporate and practice news.
- Accounting and Accountants: Monitor the pulse of consumer and industry accounting concerns by following this New York Times' news and commentary feed, which includes over 5,500 archived articles.
- Accounting Today: This industry blog covers a diverse swath of industry topics, including financial planning, tax practice, and auditing. It also highlights the new and noteworthy influencers within the international CPA community.
- The Accounting Onion: Grove Technologies' co-founder and CPA Tom Selling strives to demystify the world of accounting by examining the accountancy professions and reporting issues in detail. He also composes accounting reference materials for McGraw Hill.
- Insightful Accountant: This accounting news and information website hosts webinars and training courses, and offers a wealth of educational resources for all finance and accounting professionals.
- Journal of Accountancy: Run by the AICPA, this platform is for accounting journalism on recent news and events in the finance world.
Webinars and Podcasts
- IMA Webinars: IMA hosts Inside Talk and Leadership Academy monthly, discussing topics like professional development and future industry trends. Attendees can earn one hour of CPE credit by participating in the live versions of the webinars.
- Accounting Best Practices: Podcast host Steve Bragg has penned over 70 books on accounting and has worked with Big 4 companies as a consulting manager. His iTunes podcast covers GAAP for accounting professionals.
- The CPA Guide: Host Bryan Kesler shares his journey as a CPA and offers tips and advice for students of the CPA exam on this podcast. The show also interviews other CPAs on every episode.
- Thrivecast by CPA Network: This monthly podcast is all about accounting growth and leadership. It is hosted by Jason Blumer and Jon Lockhorst features special guests, and sometimes the live audience.
- @aicpa_jofa: The official Twitter feed of the Journal of Accountancy includes news about current case studies, credit rules, and revisions to tax rules.
- @AccountingToday: This organization publishes ongoing national news regarding business, accounting, finance, and tax policies.
- @CPAExamTweets: Over 20,000 followers keep track of testing center news, study tips, and inspirational accountant quotes as they prepare for the Uniform CPA exam.
- @retheauditors: Francine McKenna is a journalist and CPA with tenure at two Big 4 firms. Her Twitter feed observes the pulse of international trade and accounting news.
- @JodyPadarCPA: Jody Padar, a CPA and adjunct professor, answers followers' questions regarding accounting.
- @rivescpa: Wray Rives is a CPA and a chartered global management accountant at Rives CPA. He posts daily accounting news and Quora answers on his Twitter feed.
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Lizzette Matos, CPA
Lizzette Matos is a certified public accountant in New York state. She earned a bachelor of science in finance and accounting from New York University. Matos began her career at Ernst & Young, where she audited a diverse set of companies, primarily in consumer products and media and entertainment. She has worked in the private industry as an accountant for law firms and ITOCHU Corporation, an international conglomerate that manages over 20 subsidiaries and affiliates. Matos stays up to date on changes in the accounting industry through educational courses.
Lizzette Matos is a paid member of the Red Ventures Education Integrity Network.
Page last reviewed July 8, 2022