Businesses and companies all over the globe depend on accountants to ensure their company runs smoothly. Accounting is the process by which the financial transactions of a business are recorded through journal entries. Business analysts often depend on these books to understand a company’s financial standing.
To qualify as an accountant, you must keep up with accounting regulations such as the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) or the IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards) principles. Understanding these regulations can be challenging, yet a critical necessity to perform well in the job role — it is recommended that you obtain an accounting certification.
This article will discuss the skills necessary to become an accountant, the certifications you need, and the potential careers you can land in the future.
What Does An Accountant Do?
An accountant keeps track of a business’s financial records. Their role includes everything from the company’s tax duties to monitoring employee payroll and verifying financial documents. They need to consider all these factors when assessing a company’s financial position and recommend suggestions for improvements. Following are some of the tasks an accountant typically performs when working for an organization:
- Tax preparation: Calculating how much tax a company owes to the government, keeping track of tax deadlines, creating the necessary paperwork, and ensuring the taxes are paid on time
- Record keeping: Assessing the inflow of funds and the company’s debts, ensuring the company’s financial records are accurate
- Assessing risks: Identifying risks involved in investing in a new project and creating a report for the project’s feasibility
- Performing internal auditing: Performing internal audits to evaluate the company’s financial records thoroughly
- Financial transactions: Monitoring employees’ payrolls, vendor payments, billing issues, and fund collections
Skills Useful For An Accountant
Like any other career, accountants need to be well-versed in several skills. Following are some of the skills that are necessary for a person looking to become an accountant:
- Mathematics: An accountant must have excellent math skills. Algebra, calculus, and statistics are just some of the things they use daily
- Communication: Accountants must be able to convey financial information, both in words and in writing. With strong communication skills, they can ensure that the leaders of the organization easily understand important reports and records
- Bookkeeping: Accountants are recommended to have strong bookkeeping skills to complete tasks such as keeping ledgers and preparing bank deposits
- Software: Specific software programs are used by accountants to perform their jobs. Accountants must be familiar with basic programs like Microsoft Excel and Intuit Quickbooks
- Critical Thinking: Accountants regularly analyze the financial standing of companies. They must understand the data they are provided with and use it to develop recommendations
- Detail Orientation: Accountants are expected to work on many accounts and records simultaneously. They must understand the details of financial regulations and effectively apply them to the company’s operations
- Organizing Skills: Keeping track of necessary documents, accountants need easy access and manage data on their company’s finances
- Teamwork: Though accountants can usually work alone, they are instances where accountants are required to collaborate with team members on specific projects. Thus, teamwork skills are essential.
Becoming an accountant may or may not require you to have a bachelor’s degree. Furthermore, several accounting certifications can help you start your accounting career. These accounting certifications include:
- Chartered Public Accountant
- Chartered Financial Analyst
- Certified Management Accountant
Chartered Public Accountant
Holding a Chartered Public Accountant (CPA) license increases job opportunities for accountants. Accountants must complete at least 150 college credits to be eligible for the CPA exam. Keeping this in mind, many accountants pursue a master’s degree. Moreover, certain universities offer five-year accounting programs, allowing graduates to become eligible for the CPA license.
Chartered Financial Analyst
The Chartered Financial Analyst is ideal for individuals looking to step into the investment side of accounting. While this certification does not require a bachelor’s degree as a prerequisite, it is a much more challenging certification conducted only twice a year.
Certified Management Accountant
The Certified Management Accountant certification is the perfect option for people looking to excel in internal management. While it may not be the best certification for public accounting, it is excellent for individuals looking for a managerial role.
For individuals looking to pass an accounting certification, it is recommended that they seek help from online accounting courses. These courses are designed to provide aspiring accountants with the assistance and resources they need to complete highly challenging certifications on their first attempt.
Salary Of An Accountant
Accounting is a stable career as international business and taxes require more financial professionals. Since accountants are needed in practically every field across the country, individuals wanting to pursue this career have plenty of options. They can pursue a career as a personal financial specialist, certified internal auditor, or certified management accountant (CMA).
By 2030, the demand for accountants is expected to grow by 7%, the same rate for most occupations. Whereas the median annual salary of accountants as of May 2020 is $73,560.
Career Prospects With An Accounting Degree
Some accountants can choose to specialize in a specific field. In doing so, they can follow their interests while making their expertise more attractive to certain employers. Below are some of the accounting career specialization possibilities:
Accounting assistants help maintain accounts, enter data, and communicate with customers. Although having an associate’s degree may prove beneficial, this field requires minimal education. Individuals opting for this career path can gain experience quickly and move up the ladder.
An accounting manager’s task is to monitor departments or a team of junior accountants. They ensure their organization follows regulations, help with planning budgets, and monitor bookkeepers.
Financial analysts are responsible for researching and reporting on investment opportunities for organizations. They predict potential earnings by considering a company’s financial standing and the overall market state.
Accounting is a well-respected career and offers job security, steady pay, and a chance to pursue high-level job roles. When seeking to become an accountant, it’s essential to keep up with changes in regulations and sign up for courses and certifications for continued learning and growth.