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Asking for a Friend... What does CPA actually mean?

CPA stands for Certified Public Accountant. As far back as 1896, states have passed laws and regulations stipulating the requirements to be and stay certified (similar to lawyers, state governments are the gatekeepers). By meeting certain qualifications, and most infamously passing a rigorous exam, a person can earn a CPA license and serve the public. Then to maintain the license, substantial continuing education is required. In Ohio, for example, CPAs must substantiate and submit 120 hours of qualified education and training every three years. Having the designation gives credibility and confidence to governments, shareholders, and other stakeholders when reviewing anything the CPA signed. CPAs are client service professionals and trusted third parties (there are only around 650,000 actively licensed CPAs in the US).

Many people only deal directly with CPAs when they prepare their personal taxes, but the practice areas for CPAs are quite expansive and anyone interacting with the general economy is benefiting from CPAs.

For example, when buying stock in Company ABC, there is additional comfort and legitimacy knowing a third party accountant, outside of the organization’s payroll so to speak, has reviewed the company. The outside accountants reviewing Company ABCs financial statements are CPAs called auditors. Financial statements are totally different but just as complex as a company’s tax return (A different group of CPAs specializing in tax are signing Company ABC tax returns).

While CPAs help with a lot of compliance (‘complying’ with laws by signing tax returns and auditing financial statements), they are also seen as well-rounded and trusted advisors because of the rigorous work undergone for licensing. For this reason, many businesses and individuals engage CPAs for consulting on any number of topics and projects. CPAs’ expertise and financial acumen make them the first call for many people and businesses seeking advice.

At Vivify, both our founders are CPAs who love client service. Compliantly, yes, we can file your individual income tax return. More than that, and what brings us joy, is our part in making you feel in control and at ease with your entire financial journey!


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