Accountants are employed by organisations or private clients to audit accounts, provide financial advice and undertake account administration.
Accountants go through a rigorous recruitment and qualification process, and this is reflected in their high professional status.
Accountants provide financial advice to clients that range from multinational organisations and governmental bodies to small independent businesses and individuals. Accountants often specialise in particular areas of practice, including audit, management consultancy, recovery, forensic accountancy, taxation, assurance and corporate finance.
Typical duties include:
- preparing accounts and tax returns
- administering payrolls and controlling income and expenditure
- auditing financial information
- compiling and presenting reports, budgets, business plans, commentaries and financial statements
- analysing accounts and business plans
- providing tax planning services with reference to current legislation
- financial forecasting and risk analysis
- dealing with insolvency cases
- negotiating the terms of business deals and moves with clients and associated organisations
- meeting and interviewing clients
- managing colleagues, workloads and deadlines.
Work tends to be office based, with working hours often extending beyond the regular nine to five at peak times, such as at the end of the financial year.
Typical employers of accountants
- Private firms of accountants
- Professional services firms
- Industrial organisations
- Charities and not for profit organisations
- Commercial and corporate organisations
- Governmental bodies
- The public sector
Qualifications and training required
Employers look for graduates with the following skills:
- ability to reflect on one’s own work as well as the wider consequences of financial decisions
- business acumen and interest
- organisational skills and ability to manage deadlines
- teamworking ability
- communication and interpersonal skills
- proficiency in IT
- analytical ability
- a methodical approach and problem-solving skills
- high level of numeracy
Accountants will have typically studied accountancy and/or finance University and then proceeded to continue their training in an accountancy firm before acquiring they specialize professional qualification.