What exactly does a Accountant do? Accountants use financial records and numbers to paint a beautiful picture of an individual, company, or institution. By using their mathematical skills, accounting, taxes, and accountancy, they examine losses and profits from the business. They give this information to individuals and companies that need it to understand how well a company performs over a given period.
For an accountant to be a part of any organization, they must possess specific credentials. Certified public accountants have met specific educational requirements. The Institute of Certified Public Accountants administers the CPA exam. The academic requirements required for CPA certification vary from state to state. Most states require CPAs to obtain a four-year degree from an accredited program and pass the necessary exams.
A CPA can find work in a variety of areas. Small accounting firms hire CPAs to perform simple accounting tasks. Medium-sized accounting firms also often hire CPAs to perform complex accounting tasks. Larger accounting firms will often hire CPAs to manage their entire accounting department. No matter what type of accountant will be working for a business, the accountant will be responsible for completing reports that are important to the company.
There are many types of accountant services available. Accountant services that a CPA offers include: cash management, income statement preparation, planning and forecasting, fund accounting and advice, investment advice, payroll preparation, government tax preparation, bank reconciliation, and collection reporting. An accountant can also provide consulting services such as financial statements analysis and advice, global banking, pension and retirement advice, and buying and selling advice.
In order to become an accountant, an individual needs to have an accounting background. Obtaining a degree in accounting or a related field is helpful. Those who have already studied to become accountants may choose to further their education by obtaining training or taking classes relevant to their specific career. Those who already work as accountants may opt to take refresher courses to learn new accounting techniques. CPAs can choose to attend evening or weekend courses, correspondence or online courses, or a combination of educational and work experience.
Some accountants choose to hire internal employees to perform accounting tasks, like entering data, preparing reports, or assisting office staff with daily tasks. When hiring internal people, it is best to know the background of the employee and meet with them for an interview. They should be professional and easy to get along with. Hiring an accountant to perform accounting tasks is often a preferred method because the individuals are often more experienced and will do better in everyday tasks than an external hire. This option can be cheaper than hiring a contractor, since CPAs generally charge by the hour.
However, hiring a contract accountant to perform accounting tasks is another good option. If the company has a small staff, the accountant can usually handle administrative and accounting duties. Many accountants are also open to working as freelancers, offering their accounting services on a contract basis. In a business environment where technology is rapidly advancing, the accounting services provided by forensic accountants often play an important role. Forensic accountants often make use of computer forensics tools and techniques, such as forensic accounting software, to analyze digital evidence to provide evidence for a court case.
Some CPAs specialize in only accounting functions. Certified public accountants, who hold a master’s degree or higher, are excellent when it comes to auditing business practices and assisting the general public. While these professionals can perform all accounting functions, they usually prefer to focus on one specific function, like tax audits. For example, if CPAs are employed by a large accounting firm, the accountant may focus his or her efforts on providing audits on financial matters, such as internal control systems, financial reporting standards, accounting laws and procedures, management policies, and internal company financial documents.