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PUBLIC ACCOUNTING

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The first CPA law was enacted in New York in 1896. Fifty years later, there were only about 30,000 certified public accountants in the United States. By the early 1970s, their number had surpassed 140,000. Today, there are over 500,000 CPAs in the country. A significant turning point in this growth arose in the mid-1930s through the federal securities acts. These acts required independent audits of corporations that issued securities to the public. As a consequence, the demand for the services of independent professional accountants accelerated rapidly.

THE PUBLIC ACCOUNTING PROFESSION

The public accountant serves many clients, as opposed to the industry or private accountant who is usually associated with one business entity. The difference between the work of a corporate CPA controller and that of the CPA in public practice is comparable to the role of chief legal counsel in a company and the attorney conducting a private law practice. The entire work time of the industry CPA is devoted to the demands of one company, although this may extend operationally to multiple divisions or even other companies whose business is part of the larger corporation's organization. The public accountant serves many clients as an objective outsider or in an advisory capacity. The practicing CPA and the industry CPA are responsible for understanding the same body of accounting knowledge. The application, however, varies because there is a difference in the fundamental purpose of the two professional fields of accounting. Earlier in this book the role of the public accountant was described as unique. It is the dual responsibility of serving the client and still being primarily responsible to third parties that creates this uniqueness.



The public accounting profession grew, therefore, out of the need to provide audits conducted by persons not associated with the management of the company being audited. In fact, fairly extensive ethical rules have evolved that delineate the relationship a public accountant must maintain in order to be viewed as independent of the company being audited. These rules on independence in general require that a CPA not have a financial interest or participate in any way as a member of the company's management during the period covered by the financial statements that the independent CPA is auditing. Because of these and other ethical responsibilities, the audit function was assumed by public accounting firms organized to provide audits on a fee basis and staffed by persons who were not employees of any of the companies they audited.

Public accounting firms grew in number as quickly as did the number of new CPAs. By 1970, there were more than fifteen thousand public accounting firms in the country. In 1995, the American Institute of CPAs included more than forty-seven thousand firms that ranged from sole practitioners to small, medium, and large CPA firms. The largest public accounting firms practice internationally, employ thousands of professional staff, have hundreds of partners, and may maintain offices in foreign countries and most major cities in the United States. As you would expect, the firm grows in size, so too does its ability to offer a wider range of specialized services to the public. There are some very large single-office firms in the United States that can provide a wide range of services, but geography will play a greater role in their interest in serving clients outside a specific region. The media and business community commonly refer to public accounting firms in relation to their geographic service range. The descriptions generally follow the titles of local, regional, national, or international firms.

Public accounting services fall into three broad and overlapping classifications: auditing, taxation, and management services. General practitioners perform all these services for their clients, and auditing may represent the greater part of their work. However, whether conducting a general practice or specializing in one of these areas, public accountants will find their work varied and stimulating, never narrow or restrictive.

In fact, variety is one of the principal attractions of professional work. Public accountants not only render different types of services to clients but also serve clients in a wide variety of businesses. As public accountants go from one client's office to another, they obtain knowledge of systems and procedures; of management problems; and of operations, products, and services of businesses both small and large. They gain a familiarity with the unique or unusual accounting features applicable to different kinds of organizations-the accounting for depletion in mining companies; the plant and property accounts of public utilities; the retail inventory method used by department stores; appropriation and fund accounting followed by institutions and governmental bodies; and the important accounting and legal distinction between principal and income in accounting for estates and trusts. They learn what makes business tick.

The work of public accountants is carried out in clients' offices, either locally or in other cities or countries. Their duties bring them in contact with people having varied backgrounds and interest, and accountants learn to meet people, evaluate them, and work with them effectively. Public accounting experience represents a continuing education. Even the beginner will find that this broad experience will develop self-confidence and assurance-ingredients necessary to success in any field.

PRACTITIONERS

Public accounting practices are conducted by individuals, by partnerships, and by professional corporations. Partnerships are referred to as firms rather than companies even though the firm name may include the word company. The company designation in such cases means "and other partners)" and does not indicate that the firm is incorporated.

Both individual practitioners and small firms may employ other accountants as members of their professional staffs, but it is quite common for individual practitioners to conduct their practices without a staff or with a relatively small one. When their work expands and a larger staff is required, they often find it expedient to take in one or more partners.

In size, public accounting practices range from the individual practitioner without staff assistants to the international CPA firms having several thousand staff members and offices in the major cities throughout the world.

Professional services vary according to the needs of clients and the capabilities of the practitioner. All practitioners are expected to follow high professional standards of workmanship, conduct, and ethics. Staff members receive wages and benefits based on the size of the firm, the type of practice, and the services offered by the firm with which they be-come associated. Some of the distinguishing features of firms according to size are given here to assist you in evaluating the various opportunities in public accounting.

Firms are generally classified as small, medium, and large. Small firms employ fewer than twenty staff members, medium-size firms employ from twenty to a hundred, and large firms employ a hundred or more. Accurate statistics are not available concerning the number of practitioners classified by size, but there are far more individual practitioners and small firms than medium-sized and large ones. Some of the large firms are described as national because they have offices in the major cities throughout the country, and a few are referred to as international because they also maintain offices in foreign countries.

Small Firms

Individual practitioners and small firms render valuable and necessary professional services to that large segment of the economy known as small business. They serve clients as general practitioners, examining their accounts, preparing their tax returns, and consulting with them on financial and business problems. These practitioners usually have a diversified clientele, but there are some whose clients are predominantly in one kind of business, such as the garment industry, finance companies, or automobile agencies.

The operations of many small businesses are not of sufficient size or complexity to warrant the employment of a full-time controller or even a full-time bookkeeper. In such cases, clients look to the individual practitioner, or a partner of the firm retained, to provide the financial advice and counsel that the controller would normally supply in a larger organization.

Small practitioners also do write-ups and prepare monthly financial statements. Write-ups is a term used by public accountants to describe either a complete bookkeeping service or making the necessary month-end adjustments of bookkeeping records prepared by clerks or bookkeepers. Monthly statements that have been reviewed by a CPA are especially desirable for small companies because it is not always possible to establish internal checks and controls in such companies in order to safeguard cash and prevent other losses resulting from stealing and falsification of records. In connection with monthly accounting and bookkeeping services, financial statements are usually prepared, and reports on operations and financial conditions are customarily supplied to managements. Audits and personal financial planning are also provided.

Medium-Size Firms

Medium-size public accounting firms, as might be expected, have some of the characteristics of both small and large firms. Their clientele usually consists of a large number of small clients and a few large ones engaged in a variety of business enterprises. But, like small firms, some medium-size ones also tend to specialize in services for certain kinds of businesses. Many of these firms have offices at more than one location, principally to serve their large clients having several branches. Consult-ing services including systems, business planning, and business valuations are fast-growing practice areas.

Large Firms

Large firms, although fewer in number, tend to be more widely known by name to the financial community and the public than other practitioners because their accountant's opinion, often referred to as the accountant's certificate, appears on most of the annual reports sent to stockholders by large publicly owned corporations. They have offices located in a number of cities in the United States, and some of them also have foreign offices.

The clientele of large firms, with few exceptions, is greatly diversified, covering all kinds of businesses, institutions, and organizations, both large and small. Partners of these firms and key members of their staffs, although qualified to handle any type of engagement, tend to become specialists in certain businesses, such as public utilities, mining, publishing, department stores, financial institutions, and municipalities. Large firms also have separate departments specializing in taxation and management services.

THE PUBLIC ACCOUNTANT'S WORK

Of the three major fields in which public accountants work auditing, taxation, and management services-public accountants are most widely known for their work as auditors. In fact, clients usually refer to the public accountants they retain as "our auditors" or "our outside auditors," the latter to distinguish them from employees in their own auditing departments. But to persons who are not accountants, the work of the auditor is not well understood. Perhaps the following will clear up some of the misconceptions concerning auditing work.

Auditing

Contrary to popular belief, auditing is not merely a matter of checking figures or of verifying the correctness of bookkeeping entries. The purpose of an audit is to substantiate the validity of financial statements or other data being audited. When auditing financial statements, auditors must review contracts, agreements, bond indentures, minutes of boards of directors' meetings, and various other documents to ascertain that all matters affecting the financial condition of the client have been recorded on the books, and they must also determine that the entries are in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. They must correspond with debtors and creditors and banks to confirm the accuracy of data appearing on the books. They must supervise or observe the taking of physical inventories or satisfy themselves by other means that inventory quantities are accurate and that they are extended, footed, and summarized correctly.

They must do many other things in connection with an audit, but their examinations are usually limited to tests. The extent of such tests depends on the system of internal check in effect in the client's organization - that is to say, the extent to which the work of the client's employees is divided in order to minimize the possibility of honest error or fraud in the accounts. To make an effective audit, the auditors must study the system of internal check and control. Such work requires knowledge, experience, and judgment, and it is a far cry from merely checking figures and bookkeeping entries. A knowledge of computerized accounting systems is now required for auditing.

Many people are of the opinion that the main reason public accountants are engaged to audit books is to detect misappropriation of funds and other frauds, but this is only incidental to the basic purpose of an audit. And widespread management fraud may be difficult to uncover.

Another erroneous popular belief is that the CPA's report or certificate on a financial statement means that each amount on the statement is precisely accurate and that other auditors would arrive at identical amounts. Of course, this is not so. Accounting is not an exact science, and the financial statements are those of management. The auditor does not guarantee their total accuracy. Many complex questions affecting financial position and operating results are not subject to definitive answers. In some instances, principles can be formulated to arrive at greater uniformity in accounting statements, but the answers too many questions are a matter of professional opinion based on the facts surrounding each case, and we all know that opinions differ. Doctors, for example, do not always diagnose ailments the same or prescribe the same medicine to persons having the same illness. Certainly no one will ever be able to say that the net income of a business for an arbitrary length of time is precisely correct. But the independent public accountant, after completion of an audit, is able to express an opinion that the figures may be accepted for all practical purposes and fairly represent the financial picture of the company.

In sum, it is the auditor's responsibility to test the propriety of financial statements. Checking goes well beyond the basic review of mathematical computations. Financial statements can't simply be added up and presumed to "tell the whole story." They are really a complex combination of facts, judgments, and even estimates. To audit financial statements, a CPA follows established auditing procedures, which are supplemented by the auditor's experience and judgment. An audit engagement is planned in advance, based on knowledge of the type of business involved and a preliminary examination of the accounting system and records. Normally the company's internal accountants prepare the financial statements and accompanying footnotes for the auditor's examination and opinion.

One of the exciting facets of public accounting is that each audit engagement may involve different types of enterprises and, with each there is a need to develop a working knowledge of that industry or type of business. The greater the knowledge, the better able the auditor is to evaluate the data provided by management.

Irregularities are also easier to uncover. An important area in the audit is the company's internal control system. This is management's way of maintaining its records and protecting its assets. Company policy serves to curb dishonesty and keep the system orderly and uniform. Typically, internal control is carefully apportioned among different departments or persons, each of whom is responsible for receiving money, recording receipts, depositing funds, reconciling bank statements, or paying company bills. The auditor must take a very careful look at this internal system to determine if it is, in fact, working as it is designed to. Weaknesses in the system lead the auditor to revise the audit plan and examine further if the problems arise in an area where material amounts of money may be involved or basic policies are not being observed by company employees.

The auditor does not test or review every transaction, except in the most unusual circumstances. Sampling techniques are now used to test the accuracy of the transactions and the accounting system. It is necessary to compare orders and receipts with company records to confirm that the transactions took place. Important corporate documents, such as leases and contracts, are reviewed. If questions arise, the auditor expands the search and examination to obtain further evidence and assurances. All the standards and rules in the world do not tell the auditor what experience and judgment can tell. Auditors develop a "nose" for something that is not right. Auditing is a skill that is sharpened and re-fined by on-the-job training.

Upon completion of the testing procedures, the auditor reaches a conclusion that is to become the auditor's report. There are two general conclusions that an auditor can reach. If the financial statements are fairly presented in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles, the auditor will affix the firm's name to the report. This results in a clean opinion. If, however, some aspect of the financial information presented is unsatisfactory, the auditor considers another form of report. The auditor may qualify the opinion by stating specifically what issue or item is not presented satisfactorily. The other alternative is either to disclaim an opinion expressing no conclusions because of the magnitude of the concerns or to express an adverse opinion. In the latter case, the auditor is saying that the financial statements are actually misleading. It is rare for a report to be issued with an adverse opinion.

It would be difficult to overemphasize the importance of the independent CPA's opinion on financial statements. The opinions of CPAs are accepted as authoritative by investors, stockholders, creditors, and management not only because of their professional competence but also because of their objectivity and professional independence. These opinions are of fundamental importance to investors, shareholders, banks, credit grantors, underwriters of security issues, and others. In fact, much of the great expansion of the American economy through the granting of credit and equity financing is in significant measure made possible by the confidence that can be placed in auditors' opinions. Thus, the work that goes into the analysis of an enterprise's financial condition and operating results is both exacting and comprehensive. This necessarily calls for the highest professional skill and judgment.

The Securities and Exchange Commission, an agency of the United States government, requires that financial statements submitted to it for registration in connection with the sale of securities be certified by independent public or independent certified public accountants. Bankers generally request prospective borrowers to submit certified financial statements before making loans. Security holders expect to receive at least annual certified financial statements from corporations in which they have investments to assist them in deciding whether to retain, in-crease, or dispose of their investments. Security analysts use them in evaluating security portfolios of customers of stock brokerage firms.

Those responsible for the funds of institutional and nonprofit organizations realize the desirability of submitting financial statements bearing the opinion of independent public accountants to those interested, as an assurance that the funds have been properly administered and ac-counted for. Trustees appointed by the court in bankruptcy cases find the services of independent public accountants to be of great value. Prudence dictates the need for an examination and report from independent public accountants on the financial condition of a business being purchased or sold.

However, professional accountants' auditing services are not limited to the examination of financial statements. It is not uncommon for them to be called on to verify or determine the proper settlements made, or to be made, under the provisions of patent, royalty, and compensation agreements, contracts, and leases. For example, lease rental may be based on a percentage of sales or receipts; royalties may be payable upon sales or profits of one of several products; bonuses may be computed upon net income, excluding certain types of expenses. Accountants' auditing abilities also are used in assembling facts and making studies for management in connection with contemplated mergers, consolidations, and liquidations. Arbitrators appointed to settle financial disputes turn to independent public accountants to prepare studies upon which to judge the merits of the representation of the parties involved.

Proprietors or managers, especially of small and medium-size organizations, look to public accountants to evaluate the work of their bookkeepers and accountants while making an audit of their accounts and to recommend changes in procedures that will result in greater efficiency or more effective internal control. Also, those responsible for the conduct of business enterprises, both large and small, consult with their public accountants as well as their lawyers before entering into contracts having financial implications.

Taxation

Certified public accountants have played a major role in taxation for many years. This broad field includes federal, state, and local income taxes; franchise and personal property taxes; foreign taxes; and estate planning. Naturally, the majority of accounting work in this area is in in-come tax, since the determination of taxable income is basically a matter of accounting. Here, accountants prepare federal, state, and local income tax returns; consult on tax problems; and plan tax programs. They also represent clients before taxing authorities and advise them concerning the tax effects of proposed transactions.

In estate planning, accountants generally work with lawyers, banks, certified life underwriters, and insurance companies, although it is not unusual for a plan to be initiated by an accountant. All public accountants need a good working knowledge of income tax laws and regulations, and some become tax specialists, devoting all their time to tax work. The larger firms of certified public accountants generally have tax departments composed of specialists who handle the more complex tax problems and review returns prepared by members of the audit staff.

Management Services

Automation and the computer have made business managers more alert and responsive to improving management controls and making changes to attain greater efficiency. Accountants, through basic training and experience, are particularly well qualified to assist them in this area. As a result, the expansion of accountants' work in management services has been phenomenal.

These services include a review, survey, or study of accounting and management functions of clients to ascertain that accounting and statistical information is readily available to and is being used effectively by management as a device to regulate and control operations; that an adequate system of internal control is maintained to guard against losses through theft or waste; that accounting and clerical costs are kept at a minimum, consonant with objectives, through use of the most efficient machine methods and by elimination of unnecessary, wasteful, or duplicate record keeping and reports; and that the activities of departments and operational units are coordinated. Management services also include the installation, modification, or complete revision of accounting systems, procedures, and methods necessary to give effect to recommendations resulting from such surveys and studies.

Public accountants, in the normal course of audit engagements and as a by-product of carrying out the usual audit procedures, are in an excellent position to offer constructive suggestions and recommendations in these areas, and they are always on the alert to do so. However, suggestions and recommendations resulting from an audit engagement are bound to be somewhat limited because such an engagement is not designed primarily as a management survey. Naturally, a review, survey, or study of management functions, such as those mentioned, requires time and knowledge and generally constitutes a separate engagement to which public accountants specializing in management services are assigned.

Most large public accounting firms have separate departments operated by specialists who devote all of their time to management services. Some of these specialists have training in management science and system design and work in such fields as operations research, plant layout, work measurement, and production control. Those working in such fields usually hold master's degrees in management, engineering, or mathematics. However, for most accountants in management services, several years in auditing, training in making management surveys and systems, and a good knowledge of business machines, including electronic equipment, are adequate.

STAFF CLASSIFICATIONS

Staff classification is the term used to describe positions on the professional staff of public accounting firms. They indicate the responsibility area in which the staff member works. The most commonly used staff classifications are junior, semi-senior, senior, and supervisor. Some of the larger firms also use one or more additional classifications, such as manager or partner. The responsibilities of staff members in each of these classifications are discussed below.

Juniors

New accounting graduates enter firms as juniors and work under the direction of semi-senior and senior accountants. The type of work juniors are assigned varies according to the size and nature of the engagement. They may be assigned to assist in evaluating the effectiveness of internal control or in auditing cash, customers' accounts, inventories, or income and expense accounts. Their work often requires the review of contracts, payrolls, and other confidential matters. At times, their duties may seem to be routine in nature, but juniors seldom find them uninteresting because they must constantly be on the alert, use imagination, and exercise good judgment. They advance through the ranks as they gain experience and show ability to assume more responsible work. The normal time required for juniors to advance to semi-senior level is about one year, but some beginners attain that rank in a shorter period, and some may take more than two years to achieve promotion.

Semi-seniors

The duties of semi-seniors do not differ materially from those of junior accountants, except that semi-seniors are assigned to more complex and responsible work and require less supervision. Semi-seniors may also be placed in charge of small engagements or important phases of large engagements, working under the general supervision of seniors or supervisors. In such cases, semi-seniors are responsible for and direct the work of junior accountants.

They assist in preparing financial reports and in drafting letters and memoranda for submission to clients concerning such matters as internal control procedures. After development in this classification, the next step is to the rank of senior accountant. One or two years is the usual time required for this advancement.

Staff members at this level are directly responsible for the conduct of engagements, working under the general supervision of managers or partners. Their duties include planning the work to be undertaken; as-signing the proper grade of accountants to the various tasks; directing and reviewing the work of all assistants; consulting with officials and employees of clients relative to matters that arise in connection with an examination; and preparing financial statements, reports, and tax re-turns. The abilities of seniors vary. In firms using the supervisor classification, seniors having qualifications to be in charge of examinations of multi-company operations (large companies having several subsidiaries and plants located throughout the country) are generally classified as supervisors. Whether they are classified as seniors or supervisors, these accountants coordinate the work of staff assistants at all locations and have less qualified seniors under their general direction.

Seniors and supervisors assume heavy responsibilities, and at this point their advancement depends not only on technical competence but also on whether they possess administrative and executive ability. Most accountants with sound technical knowledge and training will attain senior or supervisor rank, but some go no further because they lack qualifications for top-management-level work. Those who possess such qualifications will advance to manager level within a reasonable time in large firms and will be in line for partnerships in smaller firms.
Supervisors

As indicated, in some firms this classification is used to designate senior accountants with superior ability. In other firms not using the manager classification, their responsibilities are similar to those in the manager rank.
Managers

The term assistant partner describes quite accurately the duties and responsibilities of managers. They have general supervision over a number of engagements, reviewing with seniors and supervisors the audit programs, personnel requirements, and plans for each engagement be-fore work is undertaken, and they are expected to develop their staff assistants. During the course of engagements, they review the progress of the examination and discuss with seniors, supervisors, and top officials of client organizations matters of a controversial nature requiring solution. They edit financial statements and reports prepared by seniors and supervisors before they are typed and submitted to partners for final review and signature. In short, they are responsible for the administrative as well as the technical aspects of all engagements coming under their direction. Individuals having these responsibilities are likely to become partners of their firms. They compare in stature to partners in small firms and treasurers and controllers in large business organizations.

Partners

In firms, accountants who meet with distinction all the demands of their profession usually become partners. As partners, they carry the ultimate responsibility for the quality of service to clients and for the ad-ministration of the firm. They contribute to the formulation of policies and the solution of problems affecting not only the firm but often the ac-counting profession as a whole. They share all the rewards and satisfactions of influential positions in the modern business world.

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

A firm has an important investment in the professional progress of each person it employs. All personnel are given every assistance and encouragement to develop their capabilities to the fullest, and throughout their careers, no matter what firm they work for, most accountants will receive some form of advanced training and professional development enhancement.

The basic introductory training for new staff members often is an intensive course simulating actual audit experience. It is designed to bridge the gap between academic study and practice as well as to familiarize the newcomer with the firm's special methods and procedures. These courses, usually held during the summer months, give excellent preparation for the kind of work accountants encounter during their first year on the job. They are taught by women and men in the firm who have outstanding ability and expertise. The classes usually are restricted in size in order to permit individual instruction.

By far, the most important part of an accountant's professional training takes place on the job, under the close supervision of seasoned staff members and through actual job experiences. Job assignments cannot, of course, be used solely as a tool for training, but they are planned, as far as is possible, to ensure diversified experience at the highest level of which a staff member is currently capable. In a sense, on-the-job training never ends because each new engagement presents new and different problems for staff members at all levels and for partners and individual practitioners as well. Well-planned, on-the-job training for young staff accountants is important for sound and rapid development, and most firms make a point of giving them this kind of training by assigning them to diversified work for different types of business organizations.

On-the-job training is supplemented by participation in a series of formal courses and seminars on such matters as taxes and current developments. Seminars often are conducted on a conference basis, allowing a free and informal exchange of ideas and experiences and giving staff members practice in the productive give-and-take of the conference table.

At the senior level in larger firms, there are often regional meetings that include carefully planned programs designed to welcome and initiate senior accountants to their new duties. At the managerial level, there are likely to be national meetings to discuss important professional subjects.

Other aids to professional development include the articles appearing in a firm's publications, special memoranda and publications concerning developments of current interest prepared by various committees of the firm, and the extensive facilities of the firm's library and research departments. Additionally, in order to encourage participation in professional activities, CPA firms usually pay staff members' annual dues in the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and in a state CPA society.

OPPORTUNITIES IN PUBLIC ACCOUNTING

Opportunities for those with several years' experience in public accounting are almost unlimited. They can remain in public accounting, accept positions in business or government, or plan to teach accounting.

Most staff members do not consider leaving public accounting until they become CPAs; however, shortly thereafter, it is not unusual for them to reappraise their future prospects and decide what course to take.
Many stay in public accounting with their employers, advancing through the ranks to top staff positions, either on the general practice staff or in a specialization such as taxation or management consulting. A high percentage of those who remain later become partners of the firms employing them.

Public accounting is essentially a personal service that gives staff members ample opportunity to demonstrate their abilities and adequate scope to use them to the fullest extent. Advancement in public accounting is quite consistently based on ability rather than on length of service, and staff members having partnership potential can look forward to be-coming partners in ten to fifteen years.

Although some staff members prefer to cast their lots with their present employers, others start their own practices. As in other professions, the going is rough for the first year or two while the firm is young, but after that, income will increase in relation to the competence of the practitioner. The ever-growing recognition of the services that CPAs can render to small business organizations indicates that new practices can be successfully developed.

Generally, those staying in public accounting, either with their present employers or in their own practices, do as well financially as those who leave to accept other positions. However, there are a number who leave because public accounting requires out-of-town travel and, particularly during the busy season, long working hours and pressure in meeting deadlines. Moreover, similar to doctors and lawyers, public accountants in responsible positions are always on call when clients require their services.

As indicated, public accounting provides an excellent background for positions of responsibility in the business field. A survey several years ago showed that one-fourth of the top executives of American industry were CPAs. Business recognizes the value of broad diversified experience coupled with the objectivity developed in public accounting, and clients often turn to the firms of certified public accountants they retain for assistance in filling such important accounting positions as treasurer, controller, or assistant controller. Furthermore, it is not uncommon for clients to ask specifically for the staff accountants assigned to their engagements to fill such vacancies. Public accounting firms willingly co-operate with clients in this way since placement of staff members can be expected to result in cementing client relationships.

However, those who enter public accounting as a stepping-stone to positions in business should plan to stay in public accounting for at least five years-preferably, seven or eight years-before making a change. During this period, they should become certified public accountants, for it is accountants with such backgrounds who receive the most desirable offers. Staff members rarely leave public accounting to accept positions with business or industry unless such positions offer substantially greater compensation immediately in addition to good future advancement possibilities.

There are several thousand accounting and auditing positions in the federal government and many more in state and municipal governments. These governments are constantly seeking personnel with public accounting training. The staff of the Internal Revenue Service includes many CPAs who work as agents, investigators, and bank examiners.

Additional employment opportunities exist with the Securities and Exchange Commission and the General Accounting Office at the federal level and with such local-level government agencies as school boards and sewer districts.

The teaching profession presents interesting opportunities to CPAs as faculty members in college accounting departments. Some young people who plan careers in teaching enter public accounting to gain practical experience before accepting a faculty appointment. Students graduating from colleges and universities with degrees in accounting are expected to exceed fifty thousand annually during the next few years. In college and university teaching, those having minimum training and experience may receive the rank of instructor without tenure; advancement and permanent faculty status depend on further education and experience.
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