Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is a designation given by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants to those who pass an exam and meet work experience requirements.
For the most part, the accounting industry is self-regulated. The CPA designation ensures that professional standards for the industry are enforced. Other countries have certifications equivalent to the certified public accountant. For example, in India, accountants similar to the CPA are called Chartered Accountants (CA).