Accountants and CPAs both are essential components for any business. But both have distinct functions and responsibilities. A simple fact – you will find CPAs as an accountant but rarely come across accountants as CPAs. Here, the licensing, function, expertise, and skills differ. Today, in this blog, Wichita CPA has listed some key capabilities that CPAs can do and accountants cannot. So, let us begin.

What Can a CPA Do That an Accountant Can’t?

1. Tax Representation

Accountants are only responsible for preparing tax returns. CPA possesses the legal authority to represent customers or clients in front of the Internal Revenue Service in matters concerning audits, appeals, and collections.

2. Financial Divulgence and Compliance

CPAs come with expertise in GAAP (Generally accepted accounting principles). They also hold expertise in IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards). This knowledge ensures that the financial statement abides by these standards. This proficiency is required by publicly traded businesses and those who require external financing. An accountant does not possess these skills and authority.

3. SEC Reporting

You own publicly held companies. Then you know that you are required to file financial statements with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). This legal authority only lies with CPAs. They have the power to prepare and certify audited financial statements with the SEC. Accountants are not capable of performing these tasks. 

4. SOC Audit

CPAs are capable of performing external audit SOC (Service Organisation Control) audits and also audits of publicly traded companies. Accountants can only perform internal audits.

5. Financial Planning

CPAs are known for performing a high level of advisory services. It includes risk management, financial forecasting, and business planning. The thorough training and in-depth education and expertise facilitate them to offer valuable perception that helps guide business decisions along with long-term planning. An accountant is not capable of preparing audited financial statements. 

6. Provides Guidance on Financial matters

CPA comes equipped with expertise and knowledge. They help you in financial matters by providing guidance and advice. CPA helps company owners make the right decisions regarding taxes, expansion, growth, and others. They help you in areas related to taxes and other financial statements. 


In the end, we would conclude that CPA holds a higher level of trust and integrity. It provides them with the capability to execute special services. That includes legal representation in matters related to tax, compliance, financial reporting, and more.