One of the most common types of accounting, public accounting plays a major role in the financial industry and business activities in general. Most people will have some interaction with a public accountant at some point in their lives, and anyone who runs a business will require the services of a public accountant.
The primary duty of a public accountant involves verifying financial information. Whether for an individual or a company, a public accountant ensures that financial statements accurately reflect earnings and expenditures through the process of auditing. Within this broad framework, most accountants focus on a specific subspecialty, such as compensation and employee benefits, tax preparation, financial planning, or external auditing.
The majority of public accountants hold the Certified Public Accountant designation, or CPA. While not strictly necessary for an accounting career, the CPA exam provides a standard of quality that consumers rely on, and certain types of accounting require a CPA licensure, such as Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing. Accountants certified as CPAs earn, on average, more than $20,000 more than those without the credential.
Employment prospects for public accountants are good. Job forecasts by the federal government predict 22 percent growth in the sector for the 10-year period between 2008 and 2018. The vast majority of public accountants work for larger firms, although self-employment opportunities also exist, and roughly eight percent of public accountants work for themselves.
Individuals interested in pursuing a career in public accounting should hold a Bachelor’s degree or better in Accounting, Finance, Economics, or a related discipline. Subsequently, most new accountants obtain entry-level positions in larger firms while they build the experience required for CPA licensure.
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About Alexander Pis-Dudot: The Senior Vice President of Accounting holds significant experience in a wide range of accounting tasks and responsibilities. He has worked as an accountant for more than 20 years.
February 16, 2011
As a graduate of the University of Florida (UF), Alexander Pis-Dudot earned both his Bachelor’s and Master’s in accounting. Located in Gainesville, Florida, the University of Florida has been counted among the “Public Ivies,” a handful of public universities capable of providing an rigorous undergraduate education comparable to those at Ivy League schools. Along with such accolades, UF receives regular recognition as a provider of high-quality education from multiple college and university ranking publications. For instance, the US News & World Report ranks UF in its top 60 universities in the nation for 2010, while Shanghai Jiaotong University’s Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) places it 38th globally.
Academically, UF provides 16 colleges, including the Fisher School of Accounting, the Levin College of Law, and the Warrington College of Business. The university offers more than 100 undergraduate majors and over 200 graduate degrees. Current total enrollment tops 56,000 students who take classes on the 2,000-acre Gainesville campus, as well as in satellite facilities in Jacksonville; Orlando; St. Petersburg; Sunrise; South Florida; and Beijing, China.
Established in 1853, when the governor signed legislation providing public funding and support for higher education, the University of Florida was the first publicly funded institution of higher learning, East Florida Seminary, opened in Ocala, Florida. Closed during the Civil War, East Florida Seminary relocated to Gainesville in 1866. As the years passed and Florida’s public education system grew and changed, multiple institutions of higher learning, including East Florida Seminary, merged into the University of Florida. Post-secondary education has grown continuously on the Gainesville Campus since 1906 and shows no signs of slowing. To learn more about the University of Florida, visit www.ufl.edu.