Those who are interested in finance may find a job in accounting to be incredibly gratifying. It is a field that allows for rapid growth and development due to the large variety of positions accessible at various levels of seniority.
What is accounting?
Accounting is the study of the financial transactions of a business. Accounting is the process of consolidating financial data so that it is intelligible to all stakeholders and shareholders. Accounting’s primary objective is to record and report the financial transactions, financial performance, and cash flows of a business.
The trustworthiness of financial statements is increased by accounting standards. The financial statements contain the income statement, balance sheet, cash flow statement, and retained earnings statement. Standardized reporting enables all stakeholders and investors to evaluate the success of a company. Financial statements must be honest, trustworthy, and accurate.
Accounting is a method for recording, arranging, and analyzing a company’s financial data. Accounting informs you of the present value of your company’s assets and obligations, whether you are earning a profit, which aspects of your firm are profitable, and cash flow.
Accounting assists firms in determining their financial rights and tax responsibilities. Depending on the size of the business, keeping accounting records and generating financial statements may be mandated by law. Accounting is also responsible for generating financial statements that enable business owners to evaluate their company’s performance and make informed investment decisions. Accounting also enables businesses to build budgets and forecasting models that enable them to plan ahead and reduce budget variances.
Importance of Accounting
1. It documents corporate transactions
Accounting is essential because it preserves a systematic record of the financial information of a business. Users are able to compare current financial data with past data when they have access to up-to-date records. It lets customers to evaluate the performance of an organization over time by providing complete, consistent, and accurate records.
2. Facilitates decision-making for management
Internal users of the organization place a premium on accounting. Organizational planners, organizers, and administrators may be internal users. In order to make significant decisions, the management team requires accounting. Business decisions might range from opting to expand geographically to enhancing operational efficiency.
3. Communicates results
Accounting facilitates the dissemination of a business’s outcomes to a variety of stakeholders. Investors, lenders, and other creditors are the principal external users of accounting data. Investors may decide to purchase shares of the company, whereas lenders must evaluate their risk before lending. It is crucial for businesses to establish credibility with these external consumers by providing relevant and trustworthy accounting information.
4. Meets legal standards
Accurate reporting of financial assets and liabilities is made possible through proper accounting. The Internal Sales Service (IRS) of the United States and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) employ standardized accounting financial statements to evaluate a company’s claimed gross revenue and net income. The accounting system serves to assure the legality and accuracy of a company’s financial statements.
Types of Accounting
Both financial and managerial accounting are within the accounting umbrella.
Financial accounting encompasses the process of producing accurate financial accounts. Financial accounting’s major objective is to provide the most accurate measurement of a company’s performance. Although intended for external consumption, financial statements may also be used internally by management to aid in decision-making. Financial accounting commonly use accounting rules and standards such as US GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) and IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards). Accounting standards are essential because they make it easy for all stakeholders, including shareholders, to read and interpret the published financial statements from year to year.
Managerial accounting examines the information collected from financial accounting. This expression refers to the practice of preparing operational reports. The reports can aid the management team in making both strategic and tactical business decisions. By analyzing accounting data, determining the ideal course of action, and then communicating this course of action to internal company management, managerial accounting helps an organization to run at its most efficient level. The practice of cost accounting in managerial accounting is one example. Cost accounting relies on a full cost breakdown for successful cost control. The decision-making process strongly depends on management accounting.
Potential roles for accountants
The functions that accountants can play at work are described in the sentences that follow:
- Cost accountants: Cost accountants assist businesses maximize revenues while cutting costs by using financial instruments to ascertain the exact price of goods and services. Managers receive financial data from them to aid in making wise business decisions.
- Management accountants: Management accountants are senior advisers who give managers and other decision-makers accurate and timely financial and non-financial information. They write weekly and monthly reports, take part in risk assessment and management tasks, describe the financial implications of initiatives, and assist in developing an organization’s business plan.
- Tax accountants: Tax accountants offer a range of tax-related services, such as preparing tax returns, identifying ways to reduce tax liabilities, and offering guidance on tax compliance.
- Public accountants: These professionals frequently serve as advisors for accounting businesses. They offer a comprehensive range of accounting services to private citizens, companies, and government agencies.
- Financial accountant: A financial accountant keeps track of, analyzes, and reports on a company’s financial transactions. For use in decision-making by firm owners, shareholders, suppliers, and other important stakeholders, they compile financial statements.
- Forensic accountants: are typically employed by accounting firms, government agencies, insurance companies, law enforcement organizations, and risk management consulting companies. They are in charge of looking into the veracity of financial data and locating financial crimes like fraud, money laundering, and embezzlement.
- Internal auditors: are tasked with assessing and documenting the effectiveness of processes, practices, and organizational activities.
- Project accountants: Project accountants are in charge of monitoring a project’s financial development. They create and monitor budgets, provide financial reports and assess the project’s profitability.
How to become an accountant
Follow these steps to become an accountant:
- Pursue a bachelor’s degree
- Obtain experience
- Consider an advanced degree
- Consider licensure
1. Work towards a bachelor’s degree
A bachelor’s degree, ideally in accounting, is required to work as an accountant. However, there are more comprehensive degree programs that provide specializations in accounting, such business administration. You will need to pass a number of courses, including tax accounting, auditing, and accounting. You can also take management, marketing, or finance courses.
2. Acquire expertise
While earning your degree, think about doing an internship in the accounting field because it will help you put the knowledge you learn in school to use in the real world. Look for entry-level accounting jobs after college, such as accounts payable specialist or accounting clerk employment.
3. Think about getting a graduate degree
Even while a master’s degree is not necessary to become an accountant, it can help you get more sophisticated accounting jobs and develop more quickly in your profession. Finance, taxation, and auditing are all covered in accounting master’s programs. Additionally, it is a typical method of completing the 150 credit hour prerequisites for the Certified Public Accountant licensing exam.
4. Consider getting a license
A license is required if you want to work as a CPA. Even though it’s not necessary, many employers prefer to hire certified accountants. Candidates’ career chances are increased by CPA licensing because it strengthens their credentials. The exam itself is divided into four four-hour sections: financial accounting, reporting and regulation, business environment and concepts, and auditing and attestation. The eligibility requirements can vary from state to state. You must pass all four portions with a minimum score of 75 in order to receive your license, and you must do so within 18 months.
Different types of accounting jobs
There are numerous employment opportunities for accounting specialists, including:
1. Senior accounts payable specialist
A senior accounts payable specialist is primarily responsible for ensuring that a business pays its bills. Their principal responsibilities consist of daily bookkeeping, financial reporting, record keeping, and tax record preparation for financial audits.
Accountants are responsible for maintaining and analyzing the financial records of businesses and individuals. They compile balance sheets and income statements, accounting records, compute taxes owed, and prepare tax reports.
3. Tax accountant
Tax accountants are primarily responsible for drafting tax returns, payments, and reports. They manage and maintain the tax database of an organization and seek answers to complex tax challenges.
4. Certified public accountant (CPA)
CPAs are responsible for assisting people and corporations with tax and financial statement planning. They arrange and maintain accounting records, conduct frequent audits to check the accuracy of financial documents, investments, and expenditures, and update accounting records as necessary.
Note on Accounting Profession
Accountants are responsible for accurately reporting and interpreting financial records. Small enterprises can only employ a single accountant. Large organizations may employ a full accounting department. The accounting profession encompasses a vast array of responsibilities, including bookkeeping, tax preparation, and auditing. Accountants may obtain certifications such as Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in the United States, Chartered Accountant (ACA) in the United Kingdom, Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) in Canada, etc. The four major international accounting companies are Deloitte, KPMG, PwC, and EY.