As an individual or business owner, it can be difficult to gauge when exactly is the right time to outsource accounting responsibilities you may try and handle on your own.
If you have a complicated financial portfolio, believe you are paying too much in taxes, or have started your own business, hiring a certified public accountant (CPA) may offer you the tax advice and tax return preparation you need to be sure you are filing properly and taking advantage of all the deductions you can.
While you can certainly take care of your day-to-day accounting yourself, especially if you have good accounting software or work with a bookkeeper, there are instances when the expertise of a CPA can help you make sound business decisions, avoid costly mistakes, and save you a lot of time.
While most people use the terms “accountant” and “CPA” interchangeably, there are some big differences. The CPA credential carries enormous weight in the business community, and greater clout with the IRS. Achieving a CPA license takes intelligence, ethics, integrity and a lifelong commitment to the profession.
Candidates must complete some of the toughest business courses at their university and pass the Uniform CPA Examination.
Accounting graduates must complete 150 educational credits in order to qualify for a CPA certificate. CPA’s are required to follow a strict code of ethics as well as perform within the highest standards of the profession. In Maine, every year they must complete 40 hours of continuing professional education.
The Maine Board of Accountancy grants certificates and licenses to practice public accountancy to qualified individuals who comply with the requirements of the statute.