Accountant vs CPA

What is the difference between an Accountant and a CPA?

We probably take this difference for granted and haven’t thought about it since the first time we asked it ourselves. (Yeah, we remember those self-discovery questions before and during college.) However, it does come up when we are mentoring others who show an interest in our field. So we’ll take a stab (because it’s Halloween after all) at explaining the differences.

First of all, if you’re considering a career in accounting – it is an incredible field. People work hard for their money and having a great accountant or CPA will help to protect their bottom line. We don’t say that lightheartedly. Whether a business or an individual, having finances in order with projections for the future is incredibly important. Also, if you’re going to pursue a career as an Accountant or a CPA, be sure to look us up when you’re ready to save the world – one dollar at a time!


According to The Missouri Department of Labor, accounting is among the top 15 occupations with the highest level of projected growth through the year 2022. So stay with us here. An Accountant is highly trained in the financial field and has earned at least a Bachelor’s Degree. Nearly every major university offers an accounting major. If you have any plans to eventually obtain your CPA (Certified Public Accountant) you will want to choose a university with the proper accreditation as required by your state. In Missouri, you would want to check with The Missouri Board of Accountancy.

CPA or Certified Public Accountant

If accounting is your piece of cake, you might as well have the whole thing! Acquiring your CPA is a rigorous process, but one that will leave you with a fulfilling career that offers incredible advancement and security.  After getting your Bachelor’s degree, you’ll also need to take a few exams and work under a CPA who will then endorse your experience before you are allowed to take your own CPA exam. Here is a helpful list of requirements from AccountingEdu.org  for obtaining your license in the State of Missouri.


  • Fulfill 150 semester hours of college education and earn a bachelor’s degree
  • Have your college transcript sent to CPAES
  • Pass the Uniform CPA Exam.
  • Pass the AICPA Ethics Examination
  • Fulfill the Board’s employment experience requirement of one year (2000 hours) of supervised work experience, or two years (4000 hours) for those intending to supervise attest services

Apply for your Missouri CPA License

  • Complete the Application for Initial License to Practice Public Accounting
  • List the date you passed the AICPA Ethics Exam
  • List your experience and then give the application to your Endorser to complete
  • Give your endorser the Endorser-Experience Addendum to complete in the presence of a Notary Public
  • Include a $90 application fee payable to the Missouri State Board of Accountancy
  • Return the completed form, documentation and fee to: Missouri State Board of Accountancy, 3605 Missouri Blvd., P.O. Box 613, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0613

Anything worth having is worth working for! While this list may seem like a lot, it’s just a process that will ensure you have the knowledge and experience to provide exceptional service to your clients for years to come.

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