When tax season rolls around it means it is time to look into getting some help to ensure you file properly. There are two types of professionals who can help you with your taxes, a Certified Public Accountants (CPA) and a tax preparer. Both of these professionals can help you file your tax return, but they also have advantages and limitations. 

Certifications and Education

One of the most significant differences between accountants and tax preparers is the education and licensure requirements. There are also different services offered, which means they can help different types of clientele.


CPAs are always licensed by the AICPA (American Institution of Certified Public Accountants). They are a certified accountant and must have also completed a bachelor’s degree and 150 credit hours. These credit hours focus on education in accounting and business.

Every CPA also has a requirement to pass the four-part exam within 18 months. This covers:

  • Auditing and attestation
  • Business concepts
  • Accounting and reporting
  • Regulations

After passing the exam the accountant must apply for their license, and complete 40 hours of continued education annually.

Tax preparer

Tax preparers are not required to complete a college degree. Instead, they may have certifications. Usually, there are three types of non-accountant tax preparers:

  • Annual Filing Season Program participants
  • PTIN holders
  • Enrolled agents

If you only need assistance filing taxes, then you may be able to get away with using a tax preparer or enrolled agent. Sometimes for smaller companies, it may be easy to use a tax preparer, but know you are sacrificing education.

Why choose a CPA?

When you hire a CPA, you will know that you are getting financial advice beyond taxes. They can help with tax planning, and monthly or seasonal support during the busiest seasons. They can also aid in a tax strategy and your overall finances.

Different fields of accounting

There are a few different specialties under the umbrella of accountants. Some of these specialties have special licenses. For example, CPAs can include the following specialties:

  • Tax accountant: This is a CPA who works with businesses to create tax strategies. They help to reduce tax liabilities but may also be well versed in financial and estate planning.
  • Managerial accountants: They help assist you in making decisions regarding your company’s financial health. They can help with budgeting, reporting, and risk analysis. 
  • Compliance accountant: Starting with auditing, they also help to prevent fraudulent activities.

If you are looking for help with Tax Preparation Denver, consider both options, and give us a call to see what is right for you.