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As a New York-based Certified Public Accountant (CPA) serving clients nationwide, Cody Ravalli provides individuals and businesses with first-rate accounting services tailored to their needs. A fundamental aspect of accounting is the distinction between public and private accounting. Let’s take a closer look at these two branches of accounting and how their functions and objectives differ. 

What Is Public Accounting?

Public accounting is a specialized area in which CPAs offer a range of financial services to various clients. These clients include:

  • Individuals
  • Small businesses
  • Corporations
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Government agencies

Public accountants provide auditing, attestation, tax preparation, consulting, and financial advisory services and lend their expertise to a diverse clientele.

What Is Private Accounting?

Private accounting involves managing financial information within a specific organization or business entity by “management” or private accountants. Their primary focus is to maintain the financial records of the company and handle matters such as:

  • Internal financial reporting
  • Budgeting
  • Cost analysis
  • Financial planning

Unlike public accountants, private accountants serve as internal stakeholders and are deeply involved in the decision-making process. 

How Do Public and Private Accounting Differ?

The distinctions between public and private accounting center on their scope, clients, and overall objectives:


Public accountants serve multiple clients from different industries and sectors. Their clients’ diversity exposes them to financial challenges and opportunities. By contrast, private accountants exclusively work for one organization, focusing on that company’s financial matters. In doing so, they develop an understanding of the company’s financial health and tailor solutions accordingly.

Services Offered

Public accountants offer an array of services, including:

  • Auditing financial statements
  • Preparing tax returns
  • Consulting financial matters
  • Providing guidance on regulatory compliance

On the other hand, private accountants are responsible for managing the company’s internal financial systems, preparing financial reports, creating budgets, analyzing costs, and supporting strategic decision-making.

Reporting and Compliance

Public accountants often assist companies in ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements and financial reporting standards. They may also conduct external audits to provide assurance about the accuracy of financial statements. Private accountants focus on producing internal financial reports and maintaining accurate and up-to-date financial records that help management make informed decisions.

How a CPA Can Help

Regardless of whether you require public or private accounting services, enlisting the expertise of a Certified Public Accountant can be invaluable. A CPA understands financial principles, tax laws, and regulatory requirements, making them highly qualified to handle complex financial matters. 

CPAs can provide financial advice that aligns with your goals, helping you make informed decisions for your business or personal finances. In addition, they can help you navigate the complexities of the tax code, ensuring you comply with tax regulations and identify potential deductions and credits to minimize your tax liability.

For businesses, CPAs can conduct external audits to provide an unbiased assessment of financial statements’ accuracy and reliability. At the same time, CPAs in private accounting can help businesses create realistic budgets, track financial performance, and develop strategic financial plans.

The Takeaway

Public accounting and private accounting are two distinct branches of the accounting profession, each catering to different clients and focusing on specific aspects of financial management. Whether you are an individual seeking financial advice or a business that needs comprehensive accounting services, partnering with Cody Ravalli, CPA can prove instrumental in achieving financial success. Contact Cody today to discuss financial matters in confidence.