Accountants carry the primary responsibility for financial records, making sure the appropriate taxes are paid by federal and state deadlines, oversee efficient use of funds and related tasks. They may work with individuals, major corporations and/or small businesses. They will work closely with clients in preparation, explanation and verification of any financial paperwork, they also help consumers to go over budgeting and to make plans for future investments. Those who work as public accountants may work as a private or business sector and may specialize in tax work or in the handling of client assets. Certified public accountants either work as an independent or may work for a larger accounting firm.
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Accountant Job Responsibilities
Forensic accountants have a very unique role. They help in the investigation of business, or white collar, crimes that involve embezzling money, fraud connected to bankruptcy and other issues such as money laundering. They may be part of a team of law enforcement officers are may work with a lawyer during a case. They may also be called as an expert witness during a court trial. Other accountants network as internal auditors, who verify and analyze the company’s financial records to make sure that there is no fraud and that things are being properly handled. The review can aid a company in making business run smoother and to save money on their bottom line.
Accountants have to keep current on new technology dealing with various financial software as well as local, state and federal laws regarding finances and taxes; in addition to getting the postage and sending the paperwork in. He typically work around 40 hours a week, but this can be longer during tax season when clients are trying to filed before the deadline. They can work in a variety of settings, including a small business, a large firm or for the government. Before entering the field, an individual can best prepare for this field by taking math and computer classes. This gives them a head start when entering college, where advanced classes in these areas will be required.
Accountant Training and Education Requirements
The minimum degree level required to edit the accounting field is a bachelors degree in accounting or finance. A Masters level degree is very attractive to future employer and is often preferred. When first hired into a position, the new account and will work under the guise of the more experienced individual who gives and further on-the-job training. Others can choose to enter a more specialized career field, such as in forensic accounting, which requires a more specialized track of study. These are being increasingly found through many universities. Students will take such classes in finance, data management, core classes and math.
Accountant Salary and Wages
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, accountants can expect a job growth of 22 percent by 2018. The average salary for a starting accounting is approximately $48,933. Those with a master’s degree starting out can expect to earn around $49,786. In a position for the federal government, an accountant can expect upwards of $53,660 starting out. As business accountability becomes more important and with the continued need for experienced individuals in tax preparation, job outlooks for this area look to keep growing.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
There is also room for advancement within the field. Positions such as supervisor, manager or related executive posts are available for those with advanced training and education. Pay also increases as an individual moves up in the field. For those who are ambitious, they can open their own accounting business and begin to handle clients on an individual basis. Many also work in fields within accounting such as bookkeeping and taking care of payroll services within a firm or business. The major source of these jobs are often found in cities and larger urban areas.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Besides obtaining a bachelor’s degree, the individual can choose to pursue more advanced degrees in order to have more responsibility and higher pay. If an accountant files any report with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, they are legally required to be a CPA, or Certified Public Accountant. This license is given to qualified accountants by the specific State Board of Accountancy. In order to receive this certification, the county must pass a national test and complete specific guidelines set out by their individual state. Usually, the individual is required to complete a minimum of 150 of college work, while others may mandate upwards of a master’s degree to qualify.
Accountant Professional Associations
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, or AICPA, offers its members resources on the field, training opportunities, career explanations and support. It also provides research resources for members and continuing education. The Professional Accounting Society of America is another member driven organization that focuses solely on those entering the field and who are working at the middle level.
See also: CPA Job Description