Certified Public Accountant - CPA

DEFINITION of 'Certified Public Accountant - CPA'

A designation given by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants to those who pass an exam and meet work experience requirements.

BREAKING DOWN 'Certified Public Accountant - CPA'

For the most part, the accounting industry is self-regulated. The CPA is a designation meant to help ensure that professional standards for the industry are enforced.

Other countries have certifications equivalent to the CPA. For example, in Canada, accountants similar to the CPA are called Chartered Accountants (CA).

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