The first sentence in this quote is completely inaccurate, while the second is spot on. The first sentence would apply to an Enrolled Agent (EA). An EA is someone who has passed a three part exam focusing almost entirely on tax and practice before the IRS. The CPA exam is a four part test and one part deals with tax and business law combined. When I became a CPA I only had a 3 hour class in tax and knew just enough to commit egregious malpractice if I attempted to provide guidance in that area. Both the CPA and the EA will qualify an individual to practice before the IRS, but that is not the main point of the CPA. The CPA minimally qualifies someone to attest to the accuracy of the financial statements of a business or individual. There are state (most states) and federal laws requiring the CPA certification for attestation of financial information. The CPA designates someone is minimally qualified to practice as a Certified Public Accountant to attest to financial information. The CPA also generally requires at least one year of experience supervised by another CPA and 150 college credits. Someone who becomes an EA is likely to have more tax knowledge that a CPA who has not had substantial experience in tax or taken additional tax courses (most states require 6 college hours in tax for the CPA exam) because the EA exam is focused exclusively on tax. Finding the CPA as a requirement for many positions without a legal obligation for the license is very common because the CPA is the gold standard for accounting in the US. Although the exam is supposed to represent minimal qualification, it has a 40% pass rate for each of its parts. The pass rate was lower before the AICPA allowed the parts to be taken separately starting in approximately 2005. For comparison, the Bar exam has a 70% to 98% pass rate depending on the state. A CPA also means someone has at least some experience (as previously stated). Many businesses require the CPA because it designates experience working under a more experienced accountant and a demonstration of ability by passing a very difficult examination.