Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is the statutory title of qualified accountants in the United States who have passed the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination and have not met additional state education and experience requirement for certification-as a CPA . Individuals who have passed the Exam but have not either accomplished the required on-the-fob experience, or have previously met it but-in the meantime have lapsed their continuing professional education are, in many states permitted the designation “CPA Inactive” or an equivalent phrase. In most US states only CPAs who are licensed are able to provide to the public attestation (including auditing) opinions on financial statements. The exceptions to this rule are Arizona, Kansas, North Carolina and Ohio where, although the "CPA" designation is restricted, the practice of auditing is not.
Many states have a lower tier of accountant qualification (below that of CPA), usually entitled "Public Accountant" (with designatory letters "PA"). However the majority of states have closed the designation "Public Accountant" to new entrants, with only about 10 states continuing to offer the designation. Many PAs belong to the National Society of (Public) Accountants.
Many states prohibit the use of the designations "Certified Public Accountant" or "Public Accountant" (or the abbreviations "CPA-`-or "PA") by a person who is not certified as a CPA or, PA in that state. As a result, in many circumstances, an out-of-state CPA is restricted from using the CPA designation or designatory letters until a license or certificate from that state is obtained.
Texas additionally prohibits the use of the designations "accountant" and "auditor" by a person not certified as a Texas CPA, unless that person is a CPA .in another state, a non-resident of Texas, and otherwise meets the requirements for practice in Texas by out-of-state CPA firms and practitioners. Many other countries also use the title CPA to designate local public accountants. The equivalent in formerly British countries is the chartered accountant.