Certified Public Accountant

According to Black’s Law Dictionary (1990), a certified public accountant is an accountant who has satisfied the statutory and administrative requirements within the appropriate jurisdiction to be registered and licensed as a public accountant."In addition to passing the Uniform CPA Examination administered by the AICPA, the CPA must meet certain business experience, education and moral requirements that differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction" (p. 19).The mission statement of the AICPA states: "The mission of the AICPA is to act on behalf of its members and provide necessary support to assure that CPAs serve the public interest in performing quality professional services." The statement continues: "To achieve its mission, the AICPA: . . . 8. Unites CPAs--whether in public practice, industry, education or government--in their efforts to serve the public interest" (The CPA Letter, September 29, 1986, 1).

A CPA’s knowledge of a client’s business affairs is a critical factor in evaluating the business’s insurance needs. This includes coverage suggested by the form of business (such as partnership or corporation) or by product line. It can even be as specialized as the credit and political risk insurance coverage (Fleming, 1996).A CPA’s expertise and understanding of the scope of a business’s activities, the properties owned and the client’s risk tolerance also are vitally important factors to consider. Even with this knowledge, though, most CPAs ultimately will want to rely on business insurance experts and recommend the client engage an insurance broker or risk manager to see if there really is the potential for a loss and if coverage is appropriate (Fleming, 1996).