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What is a CPB; Certified Public Bookkeeper?
Certified Public Bookkeeper (CPB) license communicates your bookkeeping knowledge, skill, experience, and ethics. The license enables you place “CPB” behind your name and communicate that you are a true bookkeeping professional. “CPB” is in the bookkeeping profession what “CPA” is in the accounting profession.
You obtain and maintain your CPB license by passing a four part Uniform Certified Public Bookkeeper Examination, verifying bookkeeping experience, agreeing to abide by a professional code of conduct, and maintaining 24 hours of continuing professional education each year.
What is an EA; Enrolled Agent?
An enrolled agent (EA) is a federally licensed tax practitioner who has proven technical expertise in the field of taxation. Enrolled agents are empowered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury to represent taxpayers before all administrative levels of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for audits, collections, and appeals. Only EAs, attorneys, and certified public accountants (CPAs) may represent taxpayers before IRS.
What are the differences between enrolled agents and other tax professionals?
Only EAs are required to demonstrate to the IRS their competence in matters of taxation before they may represent a taxpayer before the IRS. Unlike attorneys and CPAs, who may or may not choose to specialize in taxes, all EAs specialize in taxation. EAs are the only taxpayer representatives who receive their right to practice from the U.S. government (CPAs and attorneys are licensed by the states).
Are CPBs and Enrolled Agents bound by standards?
Yes, CPB ethicss are bound by the National Association of Certified Public Bookeepers Code of Ethics and Rules of Conduct.
Enrolled agents are required to abide by the provisions of U.S. Department of the Treasury Circular 230, which provides the regulations governing the practice of EAs before the IRS. National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA) members also are bound by the NAEA Code of Ethics and Rules of Professional Conduct.
What about required continuing professional education?
CPBs must receive 24 hours of CPE (certified professional education) credit each year.
In addition to the stringent testing and application process, the IRS requires enrolled agents to complete 72 hours of continuing professional education, reported every three years, to maintain their EA status. NAEA members are obligated to complete 90 hours per three-year reporting period.
Because of the knowledge necessary to become an EA and the requirements to maintain the license, there are about 48,000 practicing EAs. The CPB designation is somewhat new, and there are about 4,000 practicing in the United States.