Accountants help individuals, organisations and businesses to manage their finances, tax credit and obligations. They help businesses make critical financial decisions. Accountants are responsible for financial tasks like computing taxes and preparing tax returns, organizing and maintaining financial records, and ensuring statements are accurate.
Accounting and finance is the base of every organisation. Accounting is a vast area. Therefore there are numerous accountant job opportunities. Seeking a career as an accountant is always the best option.
Qualification for Accountant Job
An accountant must have a bachelor’s degree in commerce (B.com), accounting, finance, or related field. This usually takes three years of full time study. Also an equivalent combination of education, training and experience makes you eligible for accounting jobs.
If you already have a bachelor’s degree you can complete a postgraduate course. This usually takes two years of full time study.
After graduation you are eligible to join a professional accounting body such as Certified Practising Accountant (CPA) or Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). It will help you to enhance your credentials and employability.
Candidates with experience are always in demand in accounting jobs. 2-5 years experience in the accounting sector is an advantage for those looking for accounting jobs.
Knowledge and skills in Excel and other Microsoft Office Applications is much needed qualification for an accountant.
Skills Required for Accountant Job
Accounting work needed a scrupulous and detailed oriented eye. Accountants need to perform all data entry and transformation tasks within a spreadsheet and also analyse the work. Automation solutions make these tasks easier. However an accountant must have strong analytical skills to interpret what the data means in terms of practical business decisions and actions.
Accounting is a complex process. So an accountant must be highly organised to interact with clients, meet deadlines, and follow proper reporting guidelines. Accountants have to stay organised throughout their processes and work.
Good critical thinking is the ability to see the big picture and the smallest details. Accountants always deal with the errors, discrepancies and inaccuracies. These mistakes may cause serious damage for clients and employers. To solve these complexities, an accountant must approach the situation critically by considering all variables and risks.
Proficiency In Accounting Software
Every accounting job needed basic skills like spreadsheet software and account reconciliation software. Having knowledge in other softwares that is used for database reporting, financial reporting and analysis, financial statements, compliance, and project management helps to improve your career. Familiarising with tax softwares will help you to prepare taxes.
Many organizations use ERP softwares to manage day to day business activities such as chain, manufacturing and operations. Also knowledge in business analytical software is another advantage when exploring careers in accounting.
Financial Statement Preparation
One of the major responsibilities of an accountant is preparation of financial statements of an organization’s activities. The three primary statements you have to prepare are income statements (profit and loss), cash flow statements (movement of cash assets), and balance sheet (a real-time ).
Knowing The Industry
An accountant must have extensive knowledge about financial statements and how they work. Accountants coordinate and collaborate with professionals across departments within a business. Technical expertise in specific areas in accounting may lead towards different topics in accounting.
Written And Verbal Communication Skills
In addition to analysing and organising datas, an accountant needs to explain their findings to colleagues and clients. So the accountants act as data interpreters. They need to communicate complicated financial concepts effectively. Strong communication skills can strengthen these interactions.
Sending a well crafted email is another way of showing your skill. Written skills help you to write reports.
Time Management Skills
Deadlines is the word you are going to hear continuously when working in the accounting sector. Every project has deadlines. You need to prioratize your time accordingly. This will help you complete your projects on time and makes you an asset for the organisation.
Flexibility and Adaptability
Accounting is a continuously growing field. Technologies, methods, rules and regulations get updated, therefore you need to adapt to the changing environment. An accountant must be always open to change and remain flexible and adaptive in approaching day-to-day activities.
As we said, accounting is a field that experiences regular changes, whether it be in regulations, tax codes, software, or best practices. Being updated and learning new changes shows your employer that you are interested in learning and improving your skills.
Add On Certifications to Enhance your Accounting Career
Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is the most well known and oldest certification. A CPA has the abilities in forensic accounting, risk management, compliances, taxes, and other skills required for an accounting professional.
The career options for CPAs are high as usual. A CPA can move from accountants to financial managers or top executives as they gain more experience.
Certified Financial Analyst (CFA)
Certified Financial Analyst is mainly for those who want a career in the finance and investment world. The CFA certification is intended to work in banking, investing, or as a senior level finance professional.
Equity analysts, fund or hedge fund managers, chief financial officers or senior finance managers are the best career options for those who are looking for jobs after CFA certification.
Certified Management Accountant
CMA certification is ideal for management. The CMA certification makes you expert in cost management, decision analysis, forecasting and internal control auditing.
CMA certification is great for internal management and executive level roles in organisations such as COO or CEO. Typically CMAs find a job as junior accountant before moving towards management accounting positions.
Enrolled Agent (EA)
Enrolled agent certification is specially focused on US taxation. Enrolled agents represent taxpayers before the IRS, Internal Revenue Service, tax issues, including audits, collections, and tax appeals.
Those who earn EA certification will likely work as a tax manager or an examiner.
Chartered Certified Accountant (ACCA)
Chartered Certified Accountant is globally recognised accounting certification. ACCA mainly focuses on financial management, reporting, taxation, auditing, leadership, and ethics.
ACCA certified candidates can build their career as financial accountant, management accountant, corporate treasurer, assistant accountant etc.
Accountant Job Opportunities
Accounting is a vast area. Therefore there are numerous career opportunities. Here are some top career opportunities in the accounting sector.
Auditors are responsible for inspecting a company’s financial records and checks for accuracy and reliability. They organize and examine financial statements to comply with laws, making recommendations to management, and ensuring taxes are filed properly and on time.
Senior Financial Analyst
Financial analyst is responsible for assessing the financial health of a business and helping guide investment decisions. Data gathering, financial modelling, spreadsheet maintenance, developing investment theses, communicating with investors and management, and forecasting are other duties of a financial analyst.
A forensic accountant investigates fraud and uses accounting skills to provide opinion on legal matters in a court of law.
Managerial accountant is responsible for analyzing costs and profits, and planning and preparing financial reports for internal employees. Tasks like adapting operation and cost based planning, forecasting, overseeing the product process, incremental costing, and enterprise optimization are the duties of a managerial accountant.
Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
A Chief Financial Officer must excel in financial management, performance, business decisions, and risk management. They are responsible for implementing revenue strategies, access financial risks and opportunities and more.
Accountant Job: Responsibilities
- Preparing and maintaining financial reports
- Ensuring accuracy of financial documents
- Preparing tax returns and ensuring that taxes are paid on time
- Monitoring efficiency of existing accounting tax procedures and ensuring they comply with the government regulations
- Reviewing financial documents to check whether there are any discrepancies and irregularities
- Creating, reviewing and presenting budgets
- Recommending financial actions by analysing accounting options
- Preparing and analysing financial statements like cash flow statement, balance sheet and profit and loss statement
- Submitting annual tax returns
Importance of Practical Knowledge
Our educational system focuses mainly on academics. Theories make you knowledgeable, but it becomes useless if you don’t know how to apply these knowledge in your working environment. Without practical knowledge you can’t become a successful accountant.
Certification programs, short term courses, internship programs etc. helps to gain practical knowledge in accounting.
Benefits of attaining practical knowledge are :
- Increases employment opportunities
- Build stronger resume
- Enhance analytical skills
- Better understanding of theoretical knowledge
- Better clarity for career options
- Provide knowledge in accounting softwares
- What are the responsibilities of an accountant?
Accountants are responsible for analysing, reconciling, balancing and maintaining accounting records. Also they prepare, reviews, and processes budget, revenue, expense, payroll, and related collecting entries.
- What are certifications that can be achieved after B.com?
There are many accounting certification courses that help you to build a career in accounting. CA, CMA, ACCA, PGBAT, CFA, etc are some of the certifications that can be obtained after completing B.com.
- What jobs can you get with an accounting degree without any experience?
There are many job opportunities available for those who want to work in the accounting sector without any experience. Accounting clerk, tax clerk, bookkeeping, collection representative are some of the career options.
- Benefits of choosing accounting as a major?
Major benefits of choosing accounting as career are
- Growing demand for accountant
- Better understanding of finance
- Opportunity for advancement
- Competitive pay range
- Ability to start your own business
- Getting better understanding of taxation and business law
- What are the different types of accountants?
Accounting is a wide area, so there are a lot of sectors. Some of the accountant types are
- Staff accountant
- Investment accountant
- Certified public accountant
- Project accountant
- Cost accountant
- Management accountant
- Forensic accountant