Re: TC Certification similar to CPA?

Subject: Re: TC Certification similar to CPA?
From: "Arlen P. Walker" <Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 3 Jan 1996 16:42:00 -0600

My understanding is that you do NOT have to be
a CPA to work as an accountant, although some prefer/require the use
of CPAs, and CPAs probably get paid more than plain old accountants.
Certification involves a test. Is any of this accurate?

Ahem. (It seems to be *my* day in the well!) My wife is an accountant.

There are some legal ramifications to CPA status, there being some things a
CPA is required to be involved with. Aside from those (and did you know
there was also a CMA as well?) functions, you can work as accountant with no
college at all (providing someone will hire you, which is incredibly
doubtful). Interestingly enough, you don't need a CPA in order to be legally
liable for mistakes in the books, even though the books will carry a CPA's

Yes, CPA's get paid more. Yes, there is a test involved (and it's a
monster). And (before you ask) yes, there are facets of accounting which are
for the most part ignored by the test, which means there are plenty of job
positions for which a CPA is meaningless. There are plenty more where it's
not necessary, but for which employers still require it. It's a test for a
single branch of accounting (the "P" stands for "Public").

And, does a CPA act as a guarantee of quality? No. I know of a small firm
that lost thousands of dollars to an unscrupulous employee who diddled the
books (quite ineptly, I might add) virtually under the nose of a CPA, who
missed the whole thing, despite several audits he presided over (he was told
about it after someone at the company in question -- who was not an
accountant, even -- found it). <Don't ask. Names are witheld because of
litigation in progress. I *will* add that the CPA swooped down quickly to
clean up the mess and ended up squirreling the loss away in such an
excellent manner that it's going to be difficult legally to do much of
anything. He buried the loss in another account with no reference made to
theft, embezzlement, fraud or any of those other nice words that can be
useful in court.>

And would CPA certification work as a model for technical communicator

I hope not.

Have fun,
Chief Managing Director In Charge, Department of Redundancy Department
DNRC 124

Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- Com
In God we trust; all others must provide data.
Opinions expressed are mine and mine alone.
If JCI had an opinion on this, they'd hire someone else to deliver it.

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