Being an accountant means that you are responsible for money management. Accountants help businesses and individuals with their taxes, ensure accurate financial record-keeping, analyze the money flow for a business, and conduct audits for businesses or individuals. At the conclusion of the accountant job description article, the reader should understand the main duties of being an accountant, what education is needed to be an accountant, the underlying skills required from an accountant, typical working hours, and the job outlook.
What Does an Accountant Do?
The accountant job description lists that an accountant is in charge of balancing a business’ cash flow, preparing their taxes for them, conducting an audit, analyzing company benefits, or visiting with a client. Accountants typically work 40-45 hours a week. An accountant will typically work in an office setting with business casual dress required.
An associate’s degree is the minimum qualification required to be an accountant. The work environment is fast-paced, flexible, team-oriented, and time sensitive. Many accountants will earn their certified public accountant (CPA) credential. A typical salary for an entry level accountant with their bachelor’s degree and CPA is 48,000 according to salary.com.
Accountant Job Description for Resume – Responsibilities
The main responsibilities often found in the accountant job description are highlighted in the following list:
- Prepare profit and loss statements for a business.
- Assist individuals and businesses with their tax needs.
- Work in a team to complete complex tasks such as analyzing financial efficiency of a business.
- Ensure compliance for a business by reviewing accounting books.
- Responsible for maintaining records on money.
- Analyze the financial aspect of a business and make recommendations to become more efficient and profitable.
- Prepare and conduct audits for businesses and individuals.
- Prioritize regular tasks such as checking emails with tasks that have a firm deadline.
Accountant Required Skills
Time management. Accountants work in a fast-paced field with numerous responsibilities. The essential ability of an accountant is to prioritize time and reorganize a task list based on new assignments. Accountants need to make time for client requests, professional development, and administrative responsibilities.
Flexibility. Being an accountant requires the ability to be flexible and expect changes in job responsibilities. Good accountants are able to learn quickly and anticipate changes in the field by staying current. Accountants will find themselves in many situations that require different applications of their strengths.
Ethical standards. An accountant is responsible for the financial health of a business or individual. It is imperative that accountants have a high ethical standard. The accountant job description always lists skills such as being honest, having integrity, and keeping excellent records.
Organizational skills. Accountants will have many different accounts they are responsible for. Staying organized and keeping sound records will make their work accurate and easier. Organizational skills will make accountants more efficient.
How to Become an Accountant
People who are expert accountants typically have their MBA and CPA. A CPA is essential to file with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Accountants who earn their CPA must continue their professional development to stay current with the field. Entry-level accountant positions do not require experience in the field, but a degree in accounting is expected.
Education & Training Requirements
The accountant job description notes that the minimum qualification to work in an entry-level accounting position is an associate’s degree. A person with this degree can fulfill roles such as an accountant assistant or a bookkeeper. People who earn their bachelor’s degree in accounting can be entry-level accountants. To advance in the field one doesn’t necessarily need a master’s degree.
The additional training that an accountant must undergo relate to gaining additional experience. Students majoring in accounting are encouraged to complete an internship and join networking communities.
Accountants do not need to take the test to become a CPA. However, many firms only want to hire accountants who have their CPA. Prior to taking the CPA exam, the accountant needs 120-150 credit hours. There are additional certifications that can make an accountant stand out amongst their peers. These certifications could have additional tests or requirements depending on the state.
Accountant with CPA must continue their education. These accountants will need to acquire 120 hours of professional development every three years. There are multiple ways to earn these credits from online courses, conferences, or college courses.
It is possible to get an entry-level accountant position without prior experience. Students are strongly encouraged to major in an accounting field and to participate in an internship. In addition, joining professional organizations can increase networking opportunities.
It is not hard to get hired in an entry-level position with little to no experience. The career trajectory will start with an accounting position at a public firm.
Accountants can and should accumulate experience during their study time in college. Many accounting degrees require students to complete internships. In addition, students can work with their professors on research, or participate in job shadowing in addition to an internship.
Entry level accountants in public firms will typically work long hours. For most of the year, an accountant will work 40-45 hours a week. An accountant is reliant on their client’s requests and thus, their hours will ebb and flow with the schedules of their clients. An effective accountant will begin their day with more complex tasks and conquer more mundane tasks, like checking email, when they need a break from their work.
During the tax season, accountants have to work significantly more. During this time, an accountant might work 55-80 hours a week. Accountants work under tight deadlines. During tax season, additional work is due before deadlines.
There are ample opportunities for accountants to advance in their careers. Advancement in accounting can be quick. Predictions show that accounting jobs will grow up to 13% by the year 2020. An accounting job offers a personal advantage in that accountants are always in high demand and jobs are available.
According to salary.com the starting salary for an entry level accountant is 48,000 dollars. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the average salary for an accountant is $69,350. Investment in an accounting degree is a smart choice. Accounting is a competitive field and the additional certifications can help an accountant stand out.
Overall, accounting is a solid career choice with a clear path towards employment and advancement. Accountants can expect to pursue their CPA if they want to be appealing to employers. An accountant works in a fast-paced environment with variable job requirements. Accountants can expect to earn an average salary of about 67,000 dollars. The vast majority of accountants will most likely continue their professional development.