Choosing Certified Public Accountant (CPA) vs. Private Sector Accountant

Are you a CPA? A question every accountant is asked throughout their career. CPA’s are a great resource when it comes to government required document preparation, following financial reporting standards, and endless other areas of accounting. Corporations and publicly held companies seek out CPA’s for accounting knowledge in depths that a private accountant is usually inexperienced. It is without question CPA’s on paper are more appealing to contract or hire, but does the CPA license reflect the work to be delivered?

As a private accountant my experiences have varied. One thing that was apparent was CPA’s were not always more advanced on the processing level. When I say processing, I mean assessing the need or task and completing it accurately. Several offices I had been employed at paid high fees for results the in house team completed in a more timely matter, and or even adjusted mistakes made by CPA firms. Mid – Small size business owners find themselves lost with their books and feel a CPA can solve all their problems. The truth is many CPA’s are specialized in a specific area. Audit, compliance, mergers & acquisitions are all examples of areas a CPA should be well versed in. But is this type of need relevant to a mid – small size business?

In my opinion it comes down to the need of the business and the reality of are the costs beneficial to business? I would never discourage anyone in trying a CPA vs. a private accountant. It’s a huge part of business! Seeing what works for you and knowing how to cut ties with what does not makes you a manage/owner. I’ve found private accountants are usually more experienced in the day to day and monthly close processes. This lack of a focal point or routine in one sector allows private accountants to handle accounts payable/receivable, fixed asset management, tax preparations, and several other crucial areas of accounting.

When choosing an accountant make sure that they are right for your business, and are well versed in all that is required of them. Do not find yourself pigeon-holed to opinions of those around you. Owning and running a business in today’s ever changing markets is complex, your accountant(s) should be your most trusted and knowledgeable ally.



Harry Ortiz