Whether it’s a global corporation or a tiny, family-owned business, an accountant plays a critical function in every organisation. The accountant keeps a close eye on the entrance and outflow of the company’s funds and ensures that all financial transactions are lawful, correct, and follow the proper procedures. They collaborate closely with bookkeepers to guarantee the accuracy of the company’s financial accounts.
What does an accountant do?
An accountant’s responsibilities are varied, and some of them may overlap with those of a bookkeeper. In a nutshell, an accountant uses his knowledge of numbers and accounting concepts to comprehend and evaluate a company’s financial health.
- Accountants examine the firm’s losses and profits and thoroughly provide the data so that management may understand how the company is performing.
- They work with auditors to help them conduct corporate audits by supplying them with the relevant numbers and information.
- Accountants examine budgets, particularly after the fiscal year, to ensure that expenses do not deplete the organisation’s funds. They are responsible for keeping the company’s spending under control.
- They are in charge of the company’s financial data storage and entry into its systems. Any minor deviation from the original might threaten the company’s financial stability.
- They advocate for and implement the use of efficient and secure accounting software to aid in the collection and storage of financial data as well as the generation of financial reports.
Difference between an accountant and a bookkeeper:-
People often confuse an accountant with a bookkeeper. But both of them are very different from each other.
Bookkeeping involves recording day-to-day financial transactions such as sales, purchases, and other receipts. Accounting is responsible for gaining an insight into the business’s financial position by analysing its financial statements.
How to become a successful accountant?
- Training and degree
Although many accountants have a college diploma, it is frequently more desirable than necessary. While having math and economics at A-level followed by an accounting degree may be helpful, you may still obtain the qualifications you need if you don’t go down this specific path, as professional organisations provide courses for students and employees at all levels.
The most common accountant qualifications to offer you a solid starting point are:
- AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) accounting courses integrate industry knowledge with practical job skills and are divided into four levels (Levels 2-4).
- The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) offers two levels of certification: Fundamentals and Professionals. From corporate and company law to audit and assurance, the programmes cover a wide range of topics.
- The AIA (Association of International Accountants) professional certification – you may become a qualified accountant and a member of this worldwide organisation by completing their highest award.
- The chartered accountant ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales) is a qualification that requires 450 days of practical work experience and the completion of 15 test modules.
- The highly recognised CGMA Chartered Global Management Accountant is overseen by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants business finance award, which requires you to have already obtained the postgraduate-level CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting.
- Choosing a specialty among the many
When you apply to graduate and internship programmes in accounting and financial management, most companies will ask you to specify a specialisation area. Some of the specialisations are as follows:-
- Public Accountant
A public accounting company offers auditing, tax, consulting, and accounting services to various customers in a variety of industries, including corporations, individuals, NGOs, and governments.
- Tax Accountant
A tax account is in charge of producing tax returns (quarterly and annual) for individuals and businesses.
- Financial Accountant
Financial accountants work for a single firm or organisation, generating reports that evaluate financial performance for investors, creditors, and taxation agencies.
- Forensic Accountant
Forensic accountants investigate crimes such as misappropriation and fraud by examining a company’s financial data to provide proof for court cases.
- Financial Planner
Some accountants opt to work for financial planning businesses or as self-employed financial consultants. Financial planners help people with their money in a variety of ways.
- Internal Auditor
Internal auditors in big businesses verify that resources are being used efficiently, that the company is following all state and federal regulations, and that money is not being mishandled.
- Government Accountant
The primary concern of the government accountants is generally the administration of money in the public sector, namely whether they are being received and spent in accordance with applicable regulations.
- Experience required
Experience is just as important as getting a degree. You can get work experience by doing a work placement, volunteering, or working part-time in an accounting firm. Focusing on actual projects and managing your own workload will help you acquire essential accounting skills and network with industry professionals to help you progress your career.
Apprenticeships in accounting is another possibility. Accounting apprenticeships are a viable alternative to education and provide a fast track to chartered status with major professional organisations like the ACCA and ICAEW.
An apprenticeship allows you to get practical experience while earning a pay and receiving the same benefits as other workers at the firm.
- Skills required
Some of the skills that you must possess to become an accountant are as follows:-
- While you don’t need to be a math genius to be an accountant, you should be able to do fundamental numerical and computation tasks and analyse logically and analytically.
- To work as an accountant, you must be able to communicate effectively. This is because accountants must evaluate financial data and communicate their conclusions to their clients.
- Accounting tools and software may minimise the scope of errors and the time it takes to execute accounting activities. Thus accountants should have strong computer and technical abilities.