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What is a CPA?

A certified public accountant or CPA in Virginia is an individual who has passed the rigorous multi-part CPA exam and met other licensing requirements through education and experience and has been formally issued a license by the Virginia Board of Accountancy. CPAs are distinguished accounting professionals committed to protecting the public interest. They provide financial reports, statements, audits and other attestation services to help grow businesses and provide individuals and families with knowledge and advice on tax and financial planning. CPAs can work across many industries.

Active CPA license holders in Virginia are required to complete a total of 120 hours of continuing professional education every three years and follow a code of professional conduct that requires independence, objectivity and integrity.

In order to use the CPA title in Virginia, an individual must hold an Active or Inactive Virginia CPA license or hold appropriate licensure from another jurisdiction and meet the substantial equivalency requirements identified in the Code of Virginia ยง54.1-4411.

In order to provide services in Virginia such as attest services, compilation services or financial statement preparation services, a firm CPA license is required to be held by a sole proprietor, partnership, corporation, Limited Liability Company or other legal entity. In that case, 51% ownership of the entity must be vested in individuals who hold an Active Virginia CPA license.

The consumer should be aware that generally speaking all CPAs are accountants, but not all accountants are CPAs. In Virginia an individual or firm not licensed as a CPA can still practice accounting, bookkeeping, perform services involving the use of accounting skills, rendering tax, consulting or advisory services and prepare financial statements without providing assurance.