A hand holding a pen enters numbers on a calculator.The difference between a good accountant and a bad accountant can be the difference between success and failure. Everyone who runs a business or has tried to manage their personal finances knows this. But what few outside the accounting profession know is how instrumental the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) is in ensuring the good accountants far outnumber the bad.

What is the AICPA and what does it do? Here are five things to know.

  1. The AICPA is the oldest and largest accounting association in the U.S.
    Founded in 1887, the AICPA was instrumental in transforming the practice of accounting into a rigorous professional discipline. The organization now boasts more that 431,000 members, more than any other accounting organization in the world.
  2. The AICPA sets accounting standards.
    While each U.S. state and territory has its own board of accountancy that provides regulatory oversight, the AICPA sets national standards for the profession. The organization provides ethical guidelines and establishes auditing standards for private companies; nonprofits; and federal, state, and local governments.
  3. The AICPA is in charge of the CPA exam.
    Becoming a certified public accountant (CPA) is notoriously challenging. If you want to become a CPA, you must earn an accounting degree, such as the BS in Accounting and/or the MS in Accounting offered at Walden University. In addition, you must have experience in the profession and pass the CPA exam, a comprehensive four-part test covering the practice of accounting. The AICPA develops and grades the exam, making the organization the gatekeeper for who is and who isn’t a CPA.
  4. The AICPA offers specialized credentials.
    In order to help CPAs specialize in specific fields of accounting, the AICPA offers credentialing for personal financial planning, forensic accounting, business valuation, and information management and technology assurance. Through a joint venture with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, the AICPA also offers the designation of Chartered Global Management Accountant.
  5. There are several ways to become a member of the AICPA.
    The AICPA has four types of memberships: the regular membership for certified CPAs who meet all qualifications, the associate membership for accountants who have passed the CPA exam but have not yet met all of their state’s requirements for certification, the international associate membership for accountants outside the U.S., and the student affiliate membership for those in undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as those who are less than five years out of school.

If you’re interested in becoming a CPA and/or joining the AICPA, check out Walden’s bachelor’s and master’s in accounting degree programs as well as our recent article entitled Information to Consider if You’re Earning a Master’s in Accounting.

Man sitting at latop
Whether looking for information on programs, admissions, or financial aid, we're here to help.
Whether looking for information on programs, admissions, or financial aid, we're here to help.
Talk to your personal enrollment advisor for more information today. Please use our International Form if you live outside of the U.S.
Talk to your personal enrollment advisor for more information today. Please use our Domestic Form if you live in the U.S.
*Required Field
Academic Interests
Required
Required
Contact Information
Required
Required
Invalid email address
Please provide a valid phone number
Required
Please provide a valid zipcode
Required
Additional Information
Required
Get Started

By submitting this form, I understand and agree that Walden University may contact me via email, text, telephone, and prerecorded message regarding furthering my education and that calls may be generated using automated technology. You may opt out at any time. Please view our privacy policy or contact us for more details.

Required

By checking this box, I agree that Walden University may contact me by email, text message, autodialed telephone call, and prerecorded message at the contact information provided above regarding opportunities and offers to further my education. I understand that I may withdraw my consent at any time and that my consent is not a condition of any purchase. I have received the Walden University Privacy Policy