What Do Certified Public Accountants Do?
by DENVER W. WOOLSEY Principal, Oklahoma City Office
Presented before the Oklahoma State University Chapter of Alpha Kappa Psi, Stillwater, Oklahoma — November 1969
I RECOGNIZE that as students in the College of Business Administra-tion many of you already know quite a lot about what a certified public accountant is and what he does. I thought, however, that in talking about the work CPAs do, it might be well to start at the beginning.
The beginning for most CPAs entering practice today is a degree from a college or university, usually with a major in accounting. Such a degree qualifies the graduate to sit for the uniform CPA examination in Oklahoma and in most other states, although a number of states also impose an experience requirement.
The uniform CPA examination is prepared and graded by the staff of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the national professional organization of CPAs. Each state has the right to prescribe any type of examination it chooses, but all states have adopted the uniform examination in the interest of a nationwide standard of competence.
The examination requires two and one-half days to complete and is a rather rigorous physical experience; its successful completion usually brings a feeling of relief as well as accomplishment.
Upon passing the examination, the candidate is awarded a certificate
entitling him to practice as a certified public accountant. Ordinarily, the new CPA will already be at work in his chosen field of practice. He may have selected industry, with its ever increasing need for qualified accountants. He may be employed by an agency of government at the national, state, or local level. Or he may have decided to enter the field of accounting education while continuing his own academic training. Each of these fields offers much challenge and opportunity to the new CPA.
Many CPAs also engage in what is generally referred to as public accounting. This is the area in which I work, and is perhaps the occupation
most people associate with the title of Certified Public Accountant.
I shall devote the remainder of my talk to the practice of