What is it that accountants do and what are the roles, responsibilities, and trends in the profession? It may seem like a straightforward question, with accountants being responsible for the financial part of a business but there is more to an accountant than that. Much of the accountant’s roles and responsibilities depend upon the employer and the client’s needs. There are also various types of accountants in the profession that help to meet these needs. This post will discuss the roles and responsibilities, important skills, and the current trends impacting the field.
What does an Accountant do?
Accounting covers multiple different responsibilities and roles within organizations and accountants are the trained professionals who hold the necessary credentials to accomplish these tasks. The daily responsibilities of an accountant greatly depend on the kind of job they have. Typically, the main responsibilities of accountants include preparing and examining financial records and ensuring information is up-to-date and accurate. Accounts can also specialize in areas such as forensic accounting or taxation or focus on more specific areas of a company’s financial department. All accountants are held to the legal obligation that their work is done honestly.
What are the Duties of an Accountant?
An accountant may perform any of the following duties depending on an accountant’s field and position within a company:
- Scrutinize financial documents to make sure they are accurate and complete.
- Prepare financial documents and reports.
- Offer recommendations to help clients make wise financial decisions.
- Work to comply with local, state, and federal laws. Stay up to date on these laws as they change from year to year.
- Keep financial records organized and up to date.
- Use sophisticated accounting software to make the most of provided data.
- Help businesses and individuals are more efficient financially.
- Look for discrepancies in financial data and correct errors.
- Investigate any oddities in financial statements.
- Conduct audits for businesses and individuals.
- Work with fellow accountants to provide comprehensive reports for businesses.
What are the Top Accounting Trends?
Accounting has always been slow to adapt to changes and trends. Advancements in technology and the need for more remote work due to COVID-19 have made an impact on the accounting profession. These impacts influenced many of the top trends in the accounting profession in 2022 which include:
- Cloud-based software or Remote accounting
- Automation or AI
- Crypto or Blockchain
Cloud-Based Software or Remote Accounting
Cloud-based software is a great way for businesses to network, communicate, and for storing and access large amounts of data from anywhere. This means that work can continue even outside the office. It also allows for data to be entered and any changes can be viewed in real-time. Multiple people can access the items in cloud-based software making it easier for working remotely with coworkers on projects.
Automation or AI
Many aspects of accounting can be automated such as data entry and processing, document collection, bill payments, repetitive calculation reports, and journal entries. This does not mean that automation will take over all the responsibilities of accounting but, instead, will allow the accountant to focus on other roles of accounting.
Crypto or Blockchain
With the rise of the use of cryptocurrency, a system is needed to track crypto transactions. Blockchain uses a cloud-based network to help accountants track cryptocurrency transactions. Blockchain is resistant to modification of data making it a transparent and honest way to record transactions between two parties efficiently.
How to Become an Accountant?
A bachelor’s degree in accounting is the minimum degree required to become an accountant in an entry-level position. There are Bachelor’s degree programs in accounting with some programs offering specialization options. Courses in an accounting program include accounting, tax accounting, and auditing with additional courses in management, marketing, and finance.
Finding an internship and joining professional associations while in college are also important steps in becoming a successful accountant. Internships can provide valuable experience that can pay off in higher wages and job opportunities after graduation. These are also great ways to build a professional network.
Accountants may consider pursuing a master’s degree and specializing in one aspect of the field. A master’s degree is not a requirement but many master’s programs offer courses that cover advanced topics in accounting education. Also, a master’s degree can help meet the 150 credit hour requirement for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam. Certifications such as the CPA is a great way for an accountant to gain work experience post-graduation.
What are the Key Skills to Becoming an Accountant?
Accountants need to have these key skills to be successful in the profession:
- Excellent mathematics skills
Having a good understanding of math is significant but it is not necessary to become an accountant. It is essential to be able to analyze, compare, and interpret data and figures which do not require complex mathematical skills.
- Attention to detail
An accountant must pay attention to details in order to keep the information accurate and organized. Accountants analyze large amounts of financial data and it can be easy to make mistakes. Simple errors can be large problems if not addressed.
- Data Analysis
A large part of accounting is collecting and analyzing financial data. It is an important aspect of identifying patterns and issues.
- Proficiency in using digital systems and IT
Technology skills help an accountant perform their job more smoothly and give them an advantage in the job market.
Good communication skills are key in accounting. The accountant needs to be able to communicate a large amount of information and data so that it is easily understood by the other party.
Good organization skills are key to keeping track of important financial documents for future analysis and reporting.
These skills of accountants are considered essential in terms of analyzing and optimizing.
What makes a Good Accountant?
A good accountant has crucial skills to help a business succeed. As mentioned before, the ability to be detail-oriented is a key skill of a good accountant. The accountant must ensure records are up to date and error-free and the ability to pay attention to the small details in data is key to being a good accountant.
A good accountant understands a variety of business models and can determine what economic methods work best for a business’s goals. They are able to grasp legislative requirements and fiscal formulas in order to offer credible advice to their clients in terms of revenue building and financial management.
Who do Accountants work with?
Accountants work with a number of different businesses and industries including:
- Federal Government
- Financial banks
- Service providers
- Tech industry
- Manufacturing industry
- Entertainment industry
Accountants work with business leaders or managers in both small and large companies and corporations, private and public sectors to ensure the quality of their financial records.