CPA vs. Enrolled Agent: Which Certification is Better For You?

If you want to advance your career as a tax professional, you may have probably faced a difficult decision: CPA vs. EA. Both are valid points of view, but each has advantages and disadvantages that will affect your career in the long run.

iLead Tax Academy is a leading financial service provider and the enrolled agent course training institute in Hyderabad, offering a variety of accounting, QuickBooks, and payroll courses as well as recognized certification and placement assistance.

In this post, you will learn the key distinctions between CPAs and enrolled agents. Continue reading to learn more:

CPA vs. EA: What are they?

Certified Public Accountants are licensed accountants who have the legal authority to sign audit reports. They can prepare financial statements, perform audits, and provide tax advice to clients. CPAs’ typical clients are businesses that require both accounting and tax services.

Enrolled agents are IRS representatives of taxpayers. Individuals, corporations, partnerships, trusts, estates, and any other entity with tax reporting requirements are enrolled, agent clients.

CPA vs. EA: What are exam and license requirements?

The path to becoming an EA expert or a CPA is very similar. The main distinction between these two processes is how the basic requirements are met.

  1. Be eligible for the exam

You must either take the Special Enrollment Exam (SEE), also known as the enrolled agent (EA) exam or have prior work experience at the IRS to become an enrolled agent. While having several years of tax experience makes passing the exam much easier, there is no prerequisite for taking the EA exam. As a result, you could take it during your college years if you wanted. To schedule the exam, all you need is a Personal Tax Identification Number (PTIN).

In contrast to taking the CPA Exam, you must meet certain educational requirements. The CPA Exam application and licensure requirements are set by the various state boards of accountancy, and almost everyone expects you to have 120 credit hours of education to sit for the exam. Yes, this is the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree, and many state boards prefer that you have a degree in accounting.

  1. Prepare for the exam 

The EA exam has three sections, and most people consider the first and third sections to be the easiest because some experienced tax professionals can pass these sections with little preparation. In contrast, almost everyone must work hard to pass the second part, Business, so it is naturally regarded as the most difficult. iLead provides the best-enrolled agent training online, with a staff of professionals and experts to assist you in your preparation.

The CPA Exam is divided into four sections and covers a much broader range of topics. Regulation (REG) is the section equivalent to the EA exam, and only about 70% of the REG content directly relates to the EA exam. The remainder covers various topics such as business law.

Still, when we compare the taxation section of the REG exam to the taxation section of the EA exam, we find a lot of overlap. Because of the amount of shared content, candidates may be able to earn both certifications at the same time. Candidates who struggle to pass REG can focus their efforts on passing the EA exam and earning the EA designation. After that, they can use their expanded tax knowledge to retake the CPA Exam, pass it, and obtain their CPA license.

  1. Kick the exam

As previously stated, the EA exam has three parts. The only time you cannot take the EA exam is between March and April. Otherwise, the testing window is open from May 1 to February 28, and you can take the exam at any time during that period. You can take the exam sections hours, days, or months apart, and in any order you want. If you fail an EA exam section, you can retake it three times more (for a total of four times) during the testing window. Using an EA review course and sticking to a study schedule is the best way to pass the EA exam on time. This study plan should include completing all three parts in two years.

The CPA Exam has been tested all year, but there is a shorter time frame to pass all four exams. You must pass all four sections of the CPA Exam within a rolling 18-month period beginning with your first exam section. After passing the first section, you have 18 months to complete the remaining three sections. If you do not complete the remaining sections within this time frame, you will lose credit for the first one you completed. You must then pass that section as well as any other unpassed sections within 18 months of passing your second section. With such strict deadlines, relying on a CPA review course and consistently studying is critical for CPA Exam success.

CPA vs. EA: What do compensation and career look like?

Enrolled agents are not typically employed by a company. They have clients and thus can work from home with flexible hours. Many CPAs begin their careers in audit firms, but as they gain experience, they can open their CPA firms and gain clients. CPAs are paid more than enrolled agents, according to the study.

Choose the top enrolled agent training institute or CPA training institute to build up your career in a better manner.

CPA vs. Enrolled Agent: Advantages of it?

Superior service can be provided by both enrolled agents and CPAs. To demonstrate this, consider how enrolled agents add value first, followed by the assistance CPAs can provide.

The EA Advantage

Enrolled agents are tax specialists: Because EAs only work with taxes, they can specialize in areas such as tax preparation or tax resolution. As a result, CPAs who specialize in tax should consider obtaining the EA to demonstrate their tax expertise.

The EA title is a federal credential: Because the enrolled agent credential is issued by the IRS and includes the unlimited right to practice on a federal level, EAs can work with other clients also from all over the country.

Enrolled agents are a less expensive option than tax attorneys: Enrolled agents can typically provide the same services as tax attorneys at a much lower cost. Enrolled agents, for example, can represent their clients in civil resolution cases.

The CPA Advantage

Tax and accounting issues can be handled by CPAs: A CPA’s expertise is primarily in accounting and auditing, but most can also provide tax filing services. This combination is appealing to small businesses that require audit and tax services from the same team.

CPAs can help with tax planning by taking a holistic approach: Hiring a CPA is the better option for businesses because someone who “knows the numbers” can make better tax plans.

Do you want to become a professional enrolled agent training or CPA training? If this is the case, iLead Tax Academy would be the best choice for candidates looking to become enrolled agents because it offers high-quality training. Enrolled Agent program training from iLead Tax Academy can help you advance your career in US taxation significantly. We have qualified enrolled agent trainers on hand to help candidates pass the exam. Choose the best one for you. All the best!

Outlook Of Enrolled Agent

Only federally licensed tax professionals who
are knowledgeable about US tax law are Enrolled Agents. Because of this, these
Enrolled agents are qualified to represent taxpayers in IRS proceedings, such
as audits (inspections), collections, and tax appeals.

The Internal Revenue Service’s basic
credential, “Enrolled Agent,” is accepted in all 50 US states. They
will have unrestricted authority to provide tax advice and prepare tax returns
for individuals, businesses, trusts, and organisations that must file tax

Enrolled Agents are also knowledgeable in the
ever-evolving tax laws and help taxpayers at all IRS administrative levels.
Additionally, customers can maintain confidentiality regarding their
non-criminal tax matters or processes and have a limited privilege with an
Enrolled Agent under the law.

Career Opportunities

Enrolled Agents’ responsibilities extend
beyond tax return preparation, tax advice, and IRS representation of taxpayers.
They can assist with a variety of businesses and tax-related issues, from
calling the IRS with notices to advising clients on how to legally maximise tax

The following careers are accessible to those
who hold an EA certification course program.

1. Tax employees of a
public accounting company

Eas can work as a tax staff member for a
public accounting firm where she will assist with tax return preparation and
offer tax guidance. Enrolled Agents offer clients, ranging from individuals to
different organisations, highly qualified advice on tax-related issues.

2. Tax employees at a
small accounting business

Enrolled Agents can take on a wide range of
tasks and advance their tax careers in one of the many smaller CPA firms that
are readily available. These include auditing financial records, filing tax
forms, and making sure payments are made on schedule.

3. The legal team

EAs who can represent customers before the IRS
and handle any IRS-related notices received for the client will be beneficial
to tax law companies. Businesses like law firms also need tax employees to help
them manage their corporate taxes.

4. Investment firm staff

Investment companies want tax experts that can
assist them in minimising tax concerns for their clients. As a result, EAs can offer
guidance on how to handle investment sales and purchases to guarantee that
clients’ goals are achieved in the fiscal year.

5. Department of revenue

Working for the IRS or the department of
revenue is one of the many advantages of becoming an enrolled agent. As an EA,
you will manage bookkeeping tasks and assist clients with their tax

Who can become enrolled

To become an enrolled agent, no prerequisites
are needed. Graduates with a foundational understanding of accounting can apply
for the EA exam and demonstrate their practical expertise in tax-related
matters. The following are two ways to become an EA:

  • Pass
    the special enrollment exam
    A candidate
    must obtain Ptin and pass each of the three parts of the special enrollment
    test (covering businesses and representations, individuals, and practice and
    procedures) in order to become an EA.

The order in which you take the enrollment
exam is up to you. The EA test can be taken in any order, however passing all
three parts is necessary to become a certified enrolled agent.

  • IRS
    must have five years of continuous service with the Internal Revenue Service in
    a position that regularly enforces the Internal Revenue Code’s laws and rules
    pertaining to income, estate, employment, or excise taxes.

Who is eligible for a special enrolment exam?

The target audience for enrolling in anEnrolled Agent certification programme can include candidates who meet the
requirements listed below.

Passing the 10+2 exam, B. Tech. or MBA working
professionals, and those who spent three months preparing for the enrolled
agent program.

More taxpayer help is now required as a result
of increased IRS enforcement in recent years. As a result, your income
potential is limitless, you don’t need to work for a company, and you can help
as many clients as you can.

As a result, being an enrolled agent is a
recession-proof employment option because people will always owe taxes and
require assistance.

Benefits of getting
enrolled agent

Although becoming an EA is a drawn-out and
difficult procedure, having the certification has many advantages, including:

  • Comparable pay
  • Job stability
  • Increasingly more jobs are available
  • The IRS does not require a degree for good
  • Unlimited rights to representation

Do you need an enrolled agent program? If so, iLead Tax Academy would be the
greatest option for candidates looking to become enrolled agents as it provides
high-quality training. You can significantly advance your career in US taxation
by taking Enrolled Agent program training from iLead Tax Academy. We have
qualified enrolled agent trainers that support candidates in passing the exam.

For preparation, we also offer study materials
on US taxation course training.
Access to practise exams is also provided in the course so that students can
ace the test. You can join morning, evening, or weekend batches due to the
variable batch times. In addition, for those who are unable to attend regular
seminars, we provide an online registered agent training course.

Join Now. We support your career development!

Fundamental Payroll Certification

All individuals who seek to exhibit a foundational level of payroll expertise may apply for the Fundamental Payroll Certification. The FPC is intended for: Trainee payroll specialists

  • Sales people and consultants for the payroll sector
  • Supporting systems engineers and analysts for payroll systems
  • representative of the client for a payroll service

The FPC helps to guarantee that your payroll experts are knowledgeable about all relevant payroll legislation and have a fundamental understanding of payroll procedures. If you decide to handle payroll in-house, you could want to mandate that all payroll employees possess a Fundamental Payroll Certification (FPC), or if you already have experts on staff but they aren’t qualified, you might want to get them certified. The FPC works to make sure that your payroll staff is familiar with all relevant payroll regulations and has a foundational understanding of payroll procedures, including the ability to use payroll software.

What is FPC?

The American Payroll Association bestows the FPC accreditation. No special memberships or degrees are necessary to acquire the certification, but participants must pass an exam.

There are two periods per year, one in the fall and one in the spring, for taking the exam. Prior to registering to take the exam, applicants must submit an application.

FPC Exam Covers?

  • Compliance
  • Core payroll
  • Paycheck calculation
  • Payroll administration
  • Audits
  • Accounting
  • Payroll processes and supporting systems 

Since rules are always changing, compliance queries and discussions are restricted to a given period. Laws that have been adopted or modified in the middle of the year are not taken into account.

Exam Preparation

There are several tools available to aid in exam preparation. The American Payroll Association provides study groups, seminars, classes, books, and online resources. Numerous websites include study aids, flash cards, and mock exams. It is advised that participants use a variety of study tools to prepare for the test.

The FPC exam preparation period should last about 12 weeks for participants. This means that in order to succeed, candidates should start preparing for the test before submitting an application or registering.

Ilead Tax Academy is offering the payroll training course as well as real time enrolled agent training. To provide payroll training, we have qualified payroll and ea experts. Our instructors give you in-depth knowledge and assist you in passing the FPC test.

What kind of job will get after completing a fundamental payroll certification?

For individuals who desire to demonstrate some amount of payroll expertise, there is the FPC course exam offered by the American Payroll Association. To take the exam, you don’t require payroll experience. However, for certain payroll positions, some businesses want FPC designation.

Payroll Practitioner

An entry-level payroll practitioner creates and keeps track of payroll records for workers. She or he reviews timekeeping data, updates the system with new hires, tax changes, and other adjustments. Her/his responsibilities are often consistent and rarely deviate from accepted protocol. Both record-keeping and payroll processing are handled by an intermediate payroll practitioner. She or he processes paycheck advances and terminations in addition to calculating compensation and deductions. A senior payroll practitioner does responsibilities that fall within the intermediate and advanced categories. She or he calculates and records general ledger transactions, compares the totals of wages and deductions, determines and corrects imbalanced accounts, and completes and submits payroll tax forms. Additionally, she or he generates certain reports for management and executes difficult computations like levies and wage garnishments. For entry-level and intermediate positions, the FPC designation is acceptable; however, for senior positions, the FPC or Certified Payroll Professional designation may be desired.

Payroll Accounting

The company’s payroll-related accounts are kept up to date and maintained by a payroll accountant or analyst. She or he makes sure the accounts and the company’s financial statements balance. She or he aids in internal and external audits and works with the payroll division to resolve challenging payroll problems. She or he creates summaries, exhibits, and accounting schedules. She/he makes the decision regarding the requirement for additional accounts and system upgrades. In general, FPC or CPP designation is preferable.

Payroll Records and Benefits Administration

The payroll records and employee benefits are managed by the records/benefits administrator. This covers the rules for leave of absence, holidays, personal days, sick days, and bereavement days. For optional benefits like health and accident insurance, flexible spending accounts, retirement, and employee stock purchase plans, she or he calculates payroll deductions. She or he collaborates with insurance companies and independent benefit administrators to implement relevant plans. Usually, FPC or CPP are preferred.

Payroll Systems Analyst

Program requirements are created by the systems analyst for computerised payroll systems. She or he establishes and implements the company’s internal system or systems obtained from outside vendors in addition to evaluating and verifying the specifications created by programmers. In order to provide recommendations and suggest modifications, she or he examines possible systems and creates pertinent reports. She or he aids in the documentation of system operations and imparts pertinent training to the payroll employees. Usually, the FPC or CPP designation is selected.

The FPC designation can support your candidacy, but it does not guarantee that you will get the position. Employers may sometimes need years of relevant experience and a degree in a related profession in addition to the FPC certification.

If anyone wants to get the fundamental payroll certification, enrol now at iLead Tax Academy, it is one of the best academies in Hyderabad. We are also offering the EA classroom training and online training.

Fundamental Payroll Certification Exam Frequently Asked Questions

How many types of payroll certification?

The American Payroll Association (APA) offers two types of payroll certifications: Fundamental Payroll Certification (FPC) and Certified Payroll Professional (CPP) (CPP). The FPC programme is designed for entry-level payroll professionals and provides a thorough introduction to the field. CVT holders are excellent candidates for payroll clerical jobs or other entry-level positions.

When it comes to more difficult management and payroll roles, CPP can help you stand out. This advanced certification requires prior industry experience as well as a thorough understanding of key concepts such as labour taxes, employee benefits, and the Fair Labour Standards Act (FLSA). At iLead, we provideFundamental Payroll Certification training courses online, as well as placement assistance.

CPP holders also demonstrated payroll, payroll management systems, and payroll administration knowledge.

When can I register for the FPC exam?

Each year, there are two one-month “testing windows” during which you can take the exam. One window is in the fall, while the other is in the spring. Register for a date during one of the testing windows online and select the most convenient testing location.

Registration opens approximately 10 weeks before the start of the testing window. However, you should start studying well in advance of this date, and when registration opens, decide whether you believe you’ll be fully prepared to do your best on the test with another 10 weeks of study.

iLead Tax Academy will assist you at every step of the way to passing the exam. In addition, we are the top enrolled agent training academy in Hyderabad.

What kind of questions can I expect on the FPC exam?

This exam has 125 scored questions spread across seven content areas. The following is a detailed outline of the content covered on the certification exam:

Core Payroll Concepts – 29% of Questions

  • Employee/Employer Forms
  • Worker Status
  • Fair Labour Standards Act
  • Employee Benefits
  • Professional Responsibility
  • Methods and Timing of Pay
  • Employment Taxes

Compliance/Research and Resources – 17% of Questions

  • Reporting
  • Escheatment
  • Record Retention
  • Record Retention
  • Global
  • Legislative and Regulatory Requirements
  • Penalties

Calculation  – 24% of Questions

  • Fringe Benefits
  • Compensation/Benefits
  • Voluntary Deductions
  • Employer Taxes and Contributions
  • Total Payroll
  • Involuntary Deductions/Taxes

Payroll Process and Administration and Supporting Systems  – 7% of Questions

  • Concepts and Functionalities
  • Maintaining Master File Components
  • Business Continuity Plan

Payroll Management and Administration– 7% of Questions

  • Policies and Procedures
  • Customer Service and Communication
  • Intradepartmental Agreements

Audits – 8% of Questions

  • Audit Policies and Procedures
  • Payroll System Controls
  • Internal Controls
  • Accounting System Control

Accounting – 8% of Questions

  • Payroll Journal Entry
  • Accounting Principles
  • Financial Reporting
  • Account Reconciliation

What should I expect on the exam day?

Arrive 30 minutes before your exam time on the day of your exam. Bring two forms of identification, one of which should be a valid government-issued ID. At check-in, your photograph, signature, and palm vein will be taken. To store your belongings, a locker is provided.

The testing facility provides an erasable booklet and marker, and you are welcome to bring your own battery or solar-powered silent calculator. A brief tutorial will walk you through the exam delivery method at your testing station. After that, your test will begin.

When will I find out if I passed?

An official report is provided at the end of your exam. Reports will help you to let you know whether you have passed or failed. To account for differences between test versions, your raw score is converted to a scaled score. A passing scaled score is 300 (scale of 0 to 500). The APA does not provide a raw passing score.

The number of questions correctly answered determines your passing score. Because there is no penalty for incorrect answers, it is advantageous to answer all questions, even if you must guess.

Is it important to prepare for this exam?

That’s an excellent question. Let’s know the answer below:

  • Study for the sake of yourself. Do not arrive unprepared. We believe that training is the most effective way to achieve a high score on the Fundamental payroll certification exam.
  • Look after yourself. Make sure you’re eating right, exercising regularly, and getting enough rest. All of these variables have been linked to cognitive performance in studies. Taking care of your body will benefit your grades.
  • The payroll industry is highly structured and necessitates a thorough understanding of a wide range of procedures, methods, and principles. We will go over each one in detail and provide you with the tools you need to memorise and practise applying them.

What is the best training institute for the fundamental payroll certification exam?

In today’s world, there are numerous training institutes. However, picking the right one is critical. As a result, iLead Tax Academy is the best option for candidates looking for a payroll training course online because it provides high-quality training. Taking FPC programme training from iLead Tax Academy can help you advance your career significantly. We have qualified trainers who help candidates pass the exam.

We also provide study materials for preparation. The course also includes access to practise exams so that students can ace the exam. Because of the varying batch times, you can join morning, evening, or weekend batches. We also offer an online registered agent training course for those who are unable to attend regular seminars. We also offer an enrolled agent course. Visit our website for more information.