Accountants and other financial professionals perform various duties, depending upon their position, but generally, accountants track expenses, as well as prepare, analyze and verify financial documents. Accountants, clerks, and bookkeepers all fall into the accounting professional category. No matter what field or industry you choose, you must be focused, organized, and detail oriented. More importantly, you better have a love for making things balance.
Accounting professionals need to have knowledge of economic and accounting principles and practice. You will also need the ability to analyze and interpret data and spreadsheets. Complex problem solving and logical skills are necessary to succeed. You must also be able to adapt well to change. Rules in the “accounting world” change frequently. You must be committed to continuing an ongoing training regimen to keep up.
Company accountants track expenses, keep public records and make sure taxes are paid properly. They often prepare, analyze and verify financial documents. They also look for ways to make businesses run more efficiently, keep public records and make sure taxes are paid properly. Public accountants perform audits and prepare taxes for corporations, government agencies, organizations, and individuals. Management accountants are usually members of a consulting team or a specially appointed board. They are responsible for recording and analyzing information about budgets, costs and assets. Their work is usually meant to support strategic planning or product development. Management accountants may also write financial reports for stockholders, creditors or government agencies. Government accountants and auditors have the ultimate pressure of maintaining and examining government records, or they audit private businesses or individuals on the government’s behalf. Internal auditors are like financial police officers. They verify the accuracy of an organization or company’s financial records while looking for mismanagement and fraud.
Overall, most of the jobs in the accounting profession can be grouped into two categories, “professional level” and “clerking level”. Both levels evaluate and analyze financial data. Professional level accountants generate financial reports, assess liabilities, ascertain assets, monitor revenues, and control budget constraints. Other professionals may apply their skills to auditing, taxation, management, information systems, computer operations, and education.
Job in accounts payable, accounts receivable, billing, data entry, and bookkeeping may require simple on the job training, but typically, an accounting professional requires a Bachelor’s degree in accounting, statistics, or finance. A Bachelor’s degree will qualify you for jobs in banking, finance, marketing, and management. Certain positions or specializations may require a Master’s degree.
To become a practicing CPA, you must complete additional training beyond a bachelor’s degree and you must possess a license and certificate. The license and certificate are earned by passing the Uniform CPA Examination. To maintain a license, continuing education is required. Similar rules apply to Certified Management Accountants and Certified Internal Auditors.
Accounting has been one of the steadiest and fastest growing professions in the nation. It has doubled in size every decade for the past four decades. Much of the demand is created by the passing of new laws and regulations, additional record keeping requirements, and changes in tax code. Another reason is the growing need for corporate consultants. Approximately one third of practicing accountants are either employed by public accounting firms or self-employed.
Salaries range from $29,500 — $197,500, depending upon your profession and level of education. The growth outlook through the year 2012 is 15-30%, making jobs in the accounting profession quite desirable. Reports have shown that having a specialty, such as information systems, government regulation or international business, will help you land a job in the future.
Whether you complete a training program, pursue a higher degree or become a CPA, a good accounting professional will always be in demand. As long as there are businesses in the world, there will always be a place for number crunchers. Accounting = Job Secruirty.