Accounting is known as the Language of Business. The American Heritage Dictionary of the American Language defines accounting as activities that provide information, usually quantitative and often express in monetary units, for decision making, planning, controlling resources and operations, evaluating performance, and financial reporting to regulatory authorities and the membership. Here in the United States we have three forms of accounting practice: Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Management Accountant (CMA), and Certified Internal Auditors (CIA). There are many qualifications and standards each accountant must adhere to. A CPA is licensed by the state of his/her residence to provide auditing services to the public. He/She must also pass the Uniform Certified Public Accountant examination which is graded by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. After passing a four part exam, a CIA is given a certificate from the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA). A CIA mostly supplies his/her services directly to their employers rather than the public.
A CMA must also pass a four part test along with meeting the experience requirements from the IMA. A CMA also provides service directly to the employer rather than the public. Along the basic criteria's (passing tests and becoming certified), individuals must also adhere to the standers and legal obligations set forth by governmental and state agencies.
The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) is an independent, private, non-Governmental authority that will be utilized to support the establishment of accounting principles in the United States. The mission of the Financial Accounting Standards Board is to establish and improve standards of financial accounting and reporting for the guidance and education of the public, including issuers, auditors, and users of financial information. The Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, is the United States governing body which has primary responsibility for overseeing the regulation of the securities industry.