A Unique Line of Work
Auditors and accountants are frequently stereotyped as math geeks who sit in cubicles tabulating endless numbers. However, an accountant is much more than that. Accountancy today is a mix of problem solving, detective work and analysis.
Accountants should also have the ability to deal and communicate effectively with people to do the job right. As such, an accountant’s tasks are more diverse than a lot of people assume. Additionally, the demand for auditors and accountants is expected to rise by 18 percent between the years 2008 and 2016. This is considerably faster than the average growth for all occupations.
Roles of an Accountant
An accountant is very important in an organization. They are primarily responsible for maintaining a company’s accounting records. At the same time, they provide vital data for their employer about the financial position and revenue of a particular organization. They are also responsible for calculating net profit.
Accountants are also responsible for calculating income, VAT and other excise tax amounts. They are also given the task of filing returns for taxes and duties as a company representative. These professionals also deal with third parties that include customers, financial institutions and vendors. Accountants are also utilized as financial interpreters and advisers who may present a businesses’ financial information to individuals both outside and within a business.
Services That Accountants Provide
There are a number of services that an accountant provides. One of these is accounting and auditing. This helps clients understand their company’s larger financial picture. Assessing this allows them to maintain a competitive edge and grow their business. It also allows business owners to make the best decisions that can affect their business both in the short and long term.
Another valuable service that accountants provide is forecasting and budgeting. This involves planning a company’s budget, their expansion and upgrades of software and equipment. At the same time, an accountant who specializes in this area formulates plans for unexpected circumstances and determines how to adjust those plans in different scenarios.
An accountant can also give advice on business sales and acquisitions. This involves counseling clients about everything they need to know when they are considering purchasing a new company. This includes important advice on how to secure long-range viability and financing. They also evaluate financial implications when their clients decide to sell a business.
Accounting firms also provide their clients with trust and estate services. This includes an interpretation of clients’ wills and trusts so that they will understand all of the implications. They also provide a visual road map regarding the current disposition of their clients’ assets. At the same time, an accountant conducts reviews of their clients’ stock redemption plans and stockholder agreements. This will ensure that their family is well provided for and their taxes are fully paid.
Accountants also provide QuickBooks training for their clients. This is a great financial tool for business owners if they understand how to use it. These professionals can assist an owner in formatting their Quickbooks software to work efficiently and properly for their particular industry.
Different Areas of Specialization
Many people do not realize that they can further specialize within the field of accountancy itself. With a specific specialization, they will still perform the basic roles of an accountant. This includes verifying, preparing and analyzing financial documents to provide information for clients. However, there are also specific duties that are related to each specialization. Today, there are several specializations in the field of accountancy.
• Public Accountants
A public accountant practices financial analysis, bookkeeping and account management services for clients whether they are private businesses, public firms, individuals, non-profit organizations or government agencies. Their duties include everything from simple tax advice to preparation and consultations in different areas of employee accounting system design and compensation. Some public accountants are also involved in external auditing.
• Management Accountants
These professionals are also called private accountants. A management accountant is usually employed at an agency or business to analyze and record financial data. They also use this information to carry out different tasks that include budgeting, asset management, cost management and performance evaluation.
Management accountants are usually involved in budgeting for the release of new products along with the preparation of financial data for tax authorities and investors. Unlike public accountants, they primarily look at current and past data in order to plan ahead for the future.
• Public Sector Accounting
A public sector or government accountant specializes in dealing with private businesses and public agencies that are subject to government regulations. They also perform public accounting tasks for these agencies. At the same time, they make sure that procedures that deal with expenditures and revenue do not violate the law.
• Forensic Accountants
These accountants interpret and investigate bankruptcies and other kinds of complex financial transactions.
• Financial Consultants
A financial consultant is an accountant that provides advice in different areas that include employee health care benefits and compensation. They are also heavily involved in the design of data processing and accounting systems and choosing controls to help safeguard assets.
A Day in the Life of an Accountant
An accountant’s day usually starts at around 8:30 or 9 a.m. at their employer’s office. After arriving at the office, they begin by going through their voice mail and email. At the same time, they conduct a review of their clients and tasks for the day.
After conducting this review, they may attend a meeting with other finance team managers to discuss budgeting procedures. They might also meet with staff members to get updates regarding financial projects that they are doing right now.
They are likely meeting with their first clients by 10 a.m. to discuss issues related to things like upcoming audits. They also schedule appointments to conduct audits along with a review of accounting problems that their client is currently experiencing.
After they have returned to their office, they usually write up a memo for their manager. In the afternoon, they might travel to another client’s office. However, there are instances when they need to attend internal training sessions. This helps them learn about recent changes in current accounting practices. By late afternoon, they may perform a number of audit procedures. This is done to make sure that their client’s financial statements have been prepared according to standard accounting practices.