public and private accounting

Public vs. Private Accounting: Definition and Key Differences

08/12/2021Accountants , Accounting

In case you intend to go for accounting in future, you might already know that this particular role is all about making financial reports like that of tax return, analysing, developing, and budgeting for company business or individuals. However, public and private accounting help to learn how to make an organisation operate in a more efficient manner but there are certain differences that make public and private accounting different.

Before we delve into further discussion, we will have a look at what is explained in this article that will help you to start your work in the accounting field. This includes the following:


Public vs private Accounting

  • How To Define Public Accounting
  • Explanation of Private Accounting
  • Public and Private Accounting – The Key Differences
  • The Bottom Line


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How To Define Public Accounting:

A kind of accounting service that offers its services to a range of clients that may include individuals involved in business, corporations, or other companies to make their financial documents. Before a company decides to go for public disclosure, the role of a public accountant is to review the financials acting as a third party.

Moreover, the option of tax returns can be prepared for business individuals as well as companies. Some of the more jobs done by public accountants include audit, tax advising and consulting services etc.


Explanation of Private Accounting:

When we discuss private accounting services this refers to the services provided by a single accountant who is hired by any company. Internal financial report preparing and analysing come under the job role of these guys. The invoices that are sent to the clients and accounts payable are also added to the responsibility list of private accountants.

For an instant, a company is under the audit process, the work of private accounts and departments of the particular company will also be observed. Moreover, the main role of a private accountant is to see the internal accounts of a company that he is associated with. By doing so the company stays well aware of its financial statement.


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Public and Private Accounting – The Key Differences:

Financial statements and reports are part of services provided by public accountants as well as private accountants. Also, the auditing process involves both of them but they are both on opposite sides in this processing. There are prominent differences that make public and private accounting different from each other, some of the major differences are explained below. This includes the following:

  • Duties and Roles
  • Certification
  • Career Path
  • Work Environment


Duties and Roles:

Before a company disclose details to the public, it ensures the level of accuracy and completeness by getting it observed by the public accountant. Whereas, the job of a private accountant is purely to see the internal account and financial matters of a single company that he works with.


If we talk about the degree and certification for public accounts and a private accountant, it is a similar need to hold a degree in accounting to join the field. CPA which means certified public accountant is a basic requirement to fulfil the roles as a public accountant but this particular certification is not a must to do the job as a private accountant.

Career Path:

The scope for public accountants is wide as they may start from the basic position but keep going higher throughout their career. However, private accountants can start from a basic level and reach the highest position as the CFO (Chief Financial Officer).

Work Environment:

There is a similarity in both the cases that there is a peak accounting time in a financial year for public and private accountants will be found busy in the same duration. However, tax season makes public accountants busier than private accountants. The end of the fiscal quarter makes private accountants busier in doing their job done.


The Bottom Line:

Now that you have developed a better understanding of public and private accounting, we can sum up the discussion by saying that this might confuse several people the prominent differences that make them both accountants play the game role in the field, however, there are prominent differences that make them both different.

We hope this article will help you to choose the best option for you.


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Disclaimer: This article intends to provide general information based on public and private accounting to explain the key differences between them.

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