What does an accountant do?

Many people are surprised to hear that the role of an accountant involves more than just numbers and data. For those of you studying accountancy or considering it, the role of an accountant blends problem solving, analysis and investigative work too. Accountancy is not simply just a matter of sitting in front of a screen all day working on a spreadsheet, you also need to be able to communicate effectively with your colleagues and deal with clients diligently. As such, the role of an accountant is far more diverse than most people assume.

A typical day…

Accountants work for companies, clients and governments to help ensure that the business itself runs smoothly, or as smoothly as it possibly can. In order to achieve this, accountants need to keep accurate records of the business’ income and expenditure, as well as ensuring that taxes, employee salaries and other necessities are paid. Accountants are also expected to analyse budgets and provide financial planning services.

Different fields of accounting:

There are four main fields of accounting to consider. Accountants can choose an area in which to specialise, as the different fields within accountancy provide varying roles. They include: Public Accounting, Managements Accounting, Government Accounting, and Internal Auditing. Here we will discuss the roles of each of the fields mentioned above, in more detail:

Public Accounting; This is one of the broadest fields of accounting, as a public accountant provides an array of services to the general public, both to businesses and to individual clients. Services that they provide might include; tax, auditing, consultancy services as well as other accounting duties. Many public accountants are Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), however they may specialise in a certain field, such as auditing financial statements or undertaking tax preparation for businesses.

Management Accounting; Generally, if you are a management accountant, you’ll work within a team. You will deal with company executives and directors in order to provide them with details they need, backed up with analysis to assist in big decision making. Information that a management accountant provides might also assist in the preparation of financial reports.

Government Accounting; If you’re working as an accountant for the government, your day-to-day activities could include anything from doing the books for government agencies, to auditing businesses who are required to confirm to government regulations or pay tax.

Internal Auditing; This is where your investigative skills come into action… Auditors implement detective skill into their day-to-day work by examining the internal controls of a business and attempting to discover and prevent inaccuracy, possible fraud or mismanagement.

Want to become an accountant?

If you are contemplating a career in accounting, it might be worth considering which of the fields above you’d prefer to work within; Public Accounting, Management Accounting, Government Accounting, or Internal Auditing? You’ll find there are various positions to choose from, each role encompassing different specialisms.

There are also other more unique career paths within the field of accountancy that might interest you, such as; forensic accounting, environmental accounting, entertainment accounting, sports accounting, international accounting, mergers and acquisitions accounting, any many more.

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