When most people think about an accountant, they think of someone who adds up piles of receipts or does tax returns all day long. But there are many types of accounting professionals, and not all of them fill out tax forms. Although completing tax returns can be one of the most important roles an accountant plays, the profession has expanded. This provides many opportunities to work in a variety of exciting industries.
Whether the economy is booming or not, accountants are in high demand. Of course, preparing taxes is one important role for accountants. They may play one or many diverse roles. Regular duties of accountants include the preparation and maintenance of a company’s financial records, ensuring all financial documents are accurate, evaluating financial results, and recommending best practices. An accountant may also offer expert guidance on reducing costs and enhancing revenue. They help conduct risk analyses and produce financial forecasts as well.
To become an accountant, a person will need to obtain a bachelor’s degree in either business or accounting. One way to get into the field without going through four years of college is to obtain a 2-year associate’s degree in accounting. This allows you to work as an accounting clerk or a bookkeeper under an accountant. For those who would like even more job opportunities, getting a CPA license is a must. To sit for the CPA exam, it takes completing 150 college credit hours. This is why most accountants who want to pursue a CPA go ahead and get a master’s degree. There are a lot of different types of accountants, and they can have varying educational and experiential requirements. Here are ten popular types of accountants.
1. Financial Advisor
A financial advisor helps government entities, businesses, organizations, and individuals with financial planning and guidance. They are not always certified accountants. Their goal is to help their clients manage the money they have on hand and increase wealth for the future. A financial advisor helps clients with tax strategies, insurance, savings, ingesting, retirement accounts, and budgeting.
An auditor reviews financial records for an organization to ensure they are accurate as well as in compliance with tax laws, accounting standards, and other regulations. Auditors make sure the financial information is free of misstatements that could translate into huge and costly discrepancies. An auditor also analyzes controls that are in place to help protect a business from fraud. They may make some suggestions to help enhance the operational efficiency of a company. An auditor may be in-house, meaning they work in a company’s accounting department. They can also be an external auditor who comes in periodically from outside the company to assess financial records for accuracy.
3. Financial Consultant
Financial consultants are skilled in finance and can help organizations or individuals make solid financial decisions. A financial consultant is a freelancer, or they may work for a company that provides financial consulting services. Organizations hire accountants for their unique skill sets. A financial consultant prepares and reviews financial reports, ensures compliance, and analyzes different financial statements.
4. Certified Public Accountant
A CPA is an upper-level accountant who is recognized as an expert. They may do taxes for an organization, but in general, they do a lot more. The CPA plays the role of a trusted advisor and helps clients plan and meet financial goals. They also assist in other types of fiscal matters, including audits, reviews, consulting, litigation, or forensic accounting. To become a CPA, an accountant must earn a bachelor’s degree and pass the CPA exam.
5. Forensic Accountant
A forensic accountant is a kind of like a detective when it comes to accounting. They analyze financial records and ensure they all comply with laws and standards. But they also look for errors, omissions, and fraud in an organization’s financial records. They have unique skill sets, which include being able to handle numbers as well as having curiosity like an investigator. A forensic accountant may work in litigation support or investigation. Sometimes, they are needed as expert witnesses in court cases.
6. Staff Accountant
One of the most common accounting job titles is the staff accountant. Someone who is a staff accountant is a generalist in accounting. They may have a wide range of responsibilities, from preparing financial statements to performing account reconciliations, cash management, supervising clerical employees, and maintaining the general and subsidiary accounts for a company.
7. Cost Accountant
A cost accountant works with a business to help them improve processes so it can save money. They will examine every expense along the company’s supply chain while conducting a profitability analysis. Then they prepare a budget. Cost accountants analyze every cust, including labor, production, materials, shipping, administration, and more. Once they compile all the information, they will communicate it to the business leaders. They work with decision-makers and other leaders to help identify ways to improve financial efficiency.
8. Management Accountant
Management accountants are an integral part of the decision-making process of a business. They provide reports on the organization’s financial health so managers and decision-makers have solid financial information for making sound decisions. Some of their common duties include planning and budgeting, risk management, external financial reporting, profitability analysis, and more. Management accountants need to be able to organize financial information and present it in a way that business executives can work with it effectively.
9. Investment Accountant
The investment accountant typically works in financial services such as a brokerage or an asset management firm. Their expertise is in stocks and bonds, ETFs, currencies, and precious metals. They work with brokers and asset managers to process investments and keep an eye on third-party activities. They also help develop a financial strategy for a firm, ensure their employers comply with laws and regulations, and determine how assets and investments will affect taxes for clients.
10. Project Accountants
Project accountants are overseers of specific projects. They may be a regular employee at a firm or company, or they may contract with a company to manage a particular initiative. They take responsibility for the entire project and anything that might impact the overall cost or revenue a project might generate. They record expenses, update budgets, prepare customer invoices, verify billable hours, and perform revenue recognition. A project accountant reports back to management as to whether or not a project’s budget remains on track.
What is an Accountant?
Accountants are professionals who are responsible for keeping and interpreting an organization or company’s financial records. They perform many finance-related tasks and may work for an individual client or a large business or organization. The term “accounting” is broad and encompasses a wide variety of job titles and roles. There are three primary types of accountants government accountants, management accountants, and public accountants. Each of these focuses on different aspects of the accounting profession. Related professions include internal and external financial auditors.
How to Choose the Right Accountant Job
Choosing the right accounting job takes a lot of thinking and planning. Here is how to choose the right job for you.
- Level of Education. You’ll need a bachelor’s degree for most professional accounting positions. Think about what level of education you’ve already achieved. You’ll also want to think about how high you’d like to go educationally.
- Sitting for the CPA. When beginning your path to an accounting career, you’ll need to consider if you want to sit for the CPA exam or not. Obtaining a CPA can help increase job prospects and open up other sectors. However, it’s not necessary for many lower-level accounting jobs. Carefully consider your goals to see if it’s something you need to pursue. If you want to obtain higher-level accounting jobs like a CFO, you’ll need to plan on taking the CPA exam.
- Choose your business preference. What type of company do you hope to work with? Almost every type of business needs an accountant of some type Do you want to handle multiple clients? Would you rather work for an accounting firm? Your interests will dictate what set you to hope to work as an accountant.
- Think about the environment you thrive in. Depending on what type of accounting you choose to pursue, it can influence your work environment. Some types of accounting will have very busy seasons like tax season and a lot of slower times. Managerial accountants will work at a consistent pace day to day.
How to Become an Accountant
Here are the steps to becoming an accountant.
- Choose a college and enroll in a degree program. No matter where you want to end up in an accounting career, you’ll need to earn your bachelor’s degree first. Obtaining a 4-year degree is the first step in getting your dream career.
- Choose your accounting career path. There are many types of accountants. You’ll want to choose one accounting field to specialize in so you can choose the right classes. This is where you’ll decide if you want to seek certification or plan on going on to get your MBA.
- Find an internship. There are paid and unpaid internships that can help you get some experience in the field. Even if you take an unpaid position, it can pay off in better job opportunities and higher wages later. Internships can even lead to job offers.
- Finish your degree. It’s essential for you to complete your degree program as well as additional coursework you may need. Remember that many higher education institutions require specific grade point averages to graduate. You’ll also need to maintain a higher GPA if you want to work on an advanced degree.
- Find a job. Once you earn your degree, start looking for entry-level accounting positions. You can start bringing in an income. At the same time, you can earn the credits needed to sit for the CPA exam.
- Seek Certification. There are a number of accounting-related certifications. Do some due diligence to determine which is best for you. Having a certification can improve your marketability and professional credibility.
These are the basic steps needed to become a professional accountant. There may be some differences in your personal journey based on what type of accounting job you want to pursue. If you want to obtain one of the highest paying positions, you’ll want to take the course of the highest educational level.
What is the Simplest Accounting Job?
The accounting industry is very broad, and job responsibilities can vary. The simplest accounting jobs will be entry-level positions and include auditing, record-keeping, and reporting. Most accounting jobs require at least a year of experience along with a bachelor’s. Many entry-level jobs only require an associate degree. Some of the simplest accounting jobs include an accounting clerk, who may post transactions, file and maintain receipts, and communicate with contractors about invoices and bills. An accounting assistant usually works for senior accountants, and their job duties include basic bookkeeping, maintaining, and filing records. And a budget analyst is an entry-level accountant who works within companies or organizations to track payroll, analyze finances, develop budgets, and monitor trends in costs and revenues.
Which Accountant is the Highest Paid?
Accounting professionals have many options when it comes to career opportunities. To land one of the best-paying accounting jobs, most need to go ahead and pursue a master’s degree in an accounting-related field. Also, most of the highest-paid accountants seek licensure. Most positions are full-time positions, and there are lots of extra hours during tax season.
Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is one of the top highest paying accounting positions since it is a senior position in finance departments. They make more money because they have more authority and a lot more responsibilities, as they often take on executive-level skills. Finance directors work to develop financial plans. To work at this level of accounting requires lots of experience and is perfect for those who want to become a CFO. Finance directors have at least an MBA. Finally, an audit partner is a full partner with an accounting firm. They have a financial stake in the company and must have already had a long successful career with strong client relationships.
How Long Does it Take to Become an Accountant?
Depending on the individual, it usually takes between two and four years to become an accountant. An associate’s degree takes about two years, while a bachelor’s program is designed to take about four years. Once you graduate with a degree, you’ll want to sit for the CPA exam.
Is it Difficult to Become an Accountant?
Becoming an accountant can be challenging. You’ll have to be committed to the four years it takes to complete a degree program. This will involve taking some difficult classes, very little free time, a hectic schedule, and intense curriculums. The classes can be hard, and the workload can be very challenging even for the most disciplined. But those who are dedicated to taking the time to study and learn can obtain a great career.