An important accounting organization with many benefits.

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.

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  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, explore Walden’s bachelor’s and master’s in accounting degree programs. With academic guidance and rigorous coursework, Walden can help you position yourself for success in the field accounting. In addition, Walden’s program is offered in a flexible online format that enables you to earn your degree from the convenience of your home or from wherever you have internet access. Enter the accounting field and advance your career with an accounting degree from Walden.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering online master’s degree in accounting along with a variety of specialization options. Expand your career options and earn your accounting degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.

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