What does an Accounting Career entail? A Comprehensive Career Guide

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Accounting is a broad field, as it covers different professional titles across industries. Knowing what an accountant does will help you excel in this field, as it gives you a glimpse at the expectations and career objectives.

Therefore, If you are an aspiring accountant looking to master the day-to-day tasks involved and the skill requirements for the role, this article is for you.

In this article, we provide answers to the question ‘What does an accountant do?’. Also, we discuss the roles and responsibilities of an account, how you can become one, and the key skill requirements.

Who is an Accountant?

An accountant is a financial professional responsible for recording, analyzing, and interpreting the financial transactions for individuals, companies, or organizations. They ensure financial records are accurate, taxes are paid on time, and financial procedures comply with regulations.

Also, an accountant is a financial professional who is employed to prepare and maintain financial records, analyze financial data, and provide financial advice. They ensure financial records are accurate, taxes are paid on time, and financial procedures comply with regulations. As such, these professionals may be employed to work as internal or external consultants.  

Accountants are typically employed by businesses, government agencies, or non-profit organizations. However, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) “about 24% of accountants worked for accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll service firms while 4% were self-employed.” Moreover, some others work as self-employed consultants.

Additionally, accounting jobs are typically nine-to-five office jobs, as they are required to be present to ensure accurate compilation of data. Moreover, they may work part-time, but not during busy periods like days of festivities or task times. 

Relevant: 22 Most Asked Accountant Interview Questions and Answers

What makes up the Daily Duties of an Accountant?

Accountants wear many hats. A typical day workplace could involve:

  • Preparing financial statements, such as balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements
  • Ensuring that the organization complies with all applicable financial regulations
  • Recording and classifying financial transactions.
  • Preparing financial statements such as income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements.
  • Handling monthly, quarterly, and annual closings of financial institutions
  • Reconcile accounts payable and receivable
  • Ensure timely bank payments
  • Reconciling bank accounts and other financial accounts.
  • Calculating and recording payroll taxes and deductions.
  • Preparing and filing tax returns for individuals and businesses.
  • Providing financial advice and guidance to clients or company leadership.
  • Maintaining internal controls and ensuring compliance with accounting standards

Relevant: Accounting Student-Job Resume Example for UK, Canada & USA

How to Become an Accountant

If you desire to work as an accountant, you need an undergraduate degree in accounting or the following related courses: Finance, banking, economics, and other related fields. However, with a diploma degree from junior college or business correspondence school, you can be permitted to work as a junior accountant or get a related career in bookkeeping.

1. Educational Requirements

A bachelor’s degree in accounting is the minimum requirement for most entry-level accounting positions. Hence, this degree provides you with a strong foundation in accounting principles, financial reporting, and auditing. Moreover, some employers may also consider candidates with a bachelor’s degree in business administration or a related field.

In addition to your bachelor’s degree, you may also want to consider pursuing a master’s degree in accounting. Furthermore, having a master’s degree helps enhance your skills and knowledge, making you a more competitive applicant for higher-level positions. Additionally, It may also open up more opportunities for specialized areas of accounting, such as tax or forensic accounting.

2. Professional Certifications

In addition to having an educational background in accounting, obtaining a professional certification will further enhance your credentials and demonstrate your commitment to excellence in the accounting profession.

One of the most well-respected certifications is the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation. So, to become a CPA, you must pass a series of exams and meet certain educational and experience requirements.

Other professional certifications that can be valuable for accountants include:

  • Certified Management Accountant (CMA)
  • Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA)
  • Accredited Business Accountant (ABA)
  • Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE)

Skills and Characteristics of an Accountant 

To succeed as an accountant, you should know more than crunching numbers. Accounting is a demanding and professional role, and as such, you good skills to be efficient. Some of these skills are discussed below.

1. Strong Mathematical Skills

Even if you are working as a junior accountant, you need a solid foundation in math, including arithmetic, algebra, and calculus, you’ll need these skills to solve day-to-day financial crises.

2. Analytical Thinking Skills

Accountants are not just number crunchers; they are also problem solvers. So, to excel in this role, you should be able to identify patterns and trends in financial data and use this information to identify potential risks and opportunities.

Other skills you need to excel as an account include: 

  • Attention to Detail
  • Effective Communication Skills
  • Problem-Solving Skills
  • High Ethical Standards
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Careers in Accounting and Their Specific Duties

There are many types of accounting careers, each with its own unique set of skills and responsibilities. Some of the most common accounting career paths include:

1. Auditing

Auditors are responsible for examining financial records to ensure that they are accurate and compliant with ‌Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). Hence, Auditors work for accounting firms, but they can also be employed by corporations or government agencies.

2. Taxation:

Tax accountants are responsible for preparing and filing tax returns for individuals and businesses. Therefore, tax accountants typically work for accounting firms, but they can also be employed by corporations or government agencies.

3. Financial Reporting

Financial reporting accountants are responsible for preparing financial statements for businesses and organizations. Hence, financial reporting accountants work for corporations, but they can also be employed by accounting firms or government agencies.

4. Management Accounting

Management accountants provide financial advice to businesses to help them make informed decisions. Therefore, management accountants work for corporations, but they can also be employed by accounting firms or government agencies.

5. Internal Auditing

Internal auditors are responsible for evaluating the internal controls of a company to ensure that they are effective in preventing fraud and errors. An Internal auditor works for corporations, but they can also be employed by accounting firms or government agencies.

Other accounting fields include:

  1. Nonprofit Accountant
  2. Personal Financial Advisor
  3. Investment Banker
  4. Financial Analyst
  5. Corporate Controller
  6. Budget Analyst
  7. Payroll Accountant
  8. Accounting Professor
  9. Public Accountant.
  10. Forensic Accountant:
  11. Personal Financial Advisor

Salary Expectations for Accountants

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of the most recent data in 2022, the median annual salary for accountants and auditors was $77,220. The top 10% with high certification earned $128,970, those in the less 10% made about $47,970 each year.

However, note that the amount you receive as salary or paycheck depends entirely on different factors, like:

  •  your location e.g., country or stat
  •  the type of organization,
  • Your level of experience
  • The fled of accounting in your work

Career Outlook for Accountants

The demand for accountants is expected to grow by 10% from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is due to the increasing complexity of business finances and the need for accountants to provide specialized services, such as tax planning and cybersecurity.

Conclusion on What does an accountant do?

Accounting is a rewarding and challenging career that offers a variety of opportunities for growth and advancement. If you are interested in a career in accounting, there are several steps you can take to prepare yourself for success, including:

  • Earn a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field.
  • Pursue professional certifications, such as the CPA designation.
  • Develop strong skills in math, analytical thinking, attention to detail, communication, problem-solving, and ethical standards.

Also, be sure to research the different career paths available in accounting and develop the skills and qualifications that you will need to succeed.


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