An accountant is a person who is skilled in the practice of accounting or who is in charge of a particular account. Many people, particularly those with complicated financial situations, prefer to use the services of an independent accountant for such processes as account management, filing of taxes, or business processes. Indeed, nearly all businesses utilize the services of one or more accountants.
Although accountants have routine access to financial information, they often do not have the authority to make financial decisions about the accounts they manage. In the USA, each state has a process whereby an accountant may be granted a certificate indicating an appropriate level of skill in performing basic job responsibilities. Individuals bearing such a certificate are thereafter referred to as a Certified Public Accountant, or CPA.