Accountants

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  • Accounting is often considered to be one of the most intense college majors there is. Students are required to take very rigorous courses in a number of different subjects. In addition, the core coursework required in accounting can be daunting and takes much studying and preparation. Students are required to take courses in Mathematics, Economics, Business, and, of course, courses in accounting.

  • Accountants help to ensure that firms are run efficiently, public records are kept accurately, and taxes paid properly and on time.
  • They analyze and communicate financial information for various entities such as companies, individual clients, and governments.
  • Beyond carrying out the fundamental tasks of the occupation—providing information to clients by preparing, analyzing, and verifying financial documents.
  • Specific job duties vary widely among the three major fields of accounting: public accounting, management accounting and government accounting.

  • Public accountants perform a broad range of accounting, auditing, tax, and consulting activities for their clients, which may be corporations, governments, non-profit organizations, or individuals:

  • For example, some public accountants concentrate on tax matters, others offer advice in areas such as compensation or employee healthcare benefits, the design of accounting and data processing systems, and the selection of controls to safeguard assets.
  • Still others audit clients' financial statements and inform investors and authorities that the statements have been correctly prepared and reported.
  • These accountants are also referred to as external auditors. Some public accountants specialize in forensic accounting investigating and interpreting white-collar crimes.

  • Management accountants record and analyze the financial information of the companies for which they work:
  • Among their other responsibilities are budgeting, performance evaluation, cost management, and asset management.
  • Usually, management accountants are part of executive teams involved in strategic planning or the development of new products.
  • They analyze and interpret the financial information that corporate executives need to make sound business decisions.
  • They also prepare financial reports for other groups, including stockholders, creditors, regulatory agencies, and tax authorities.

  • Government accountants and auditors work in the public sector, maintaining and examining the records of government agencies and auditing private businesses and individuals whose activities are subject to government regulations or taxation: Accountants employed by governments ensure that revenues are received and expenditures are made in accordance with laws and regulations.
  • Accountants who have a professional certification, especially CPAs, should have the best prospects.
    An increase in the number of businesses, changing financial laws and corporate governance regulations, and increased accountability for protecting an organization's stakeholders will drive job growth.

  • As the economy grows, the number of business establishments will increase, requiring more accountants to set up books, prepare taxes, and provide management advice.

  • The continued globalization of business also will lead to more demand for accounting expertise and services related to international trade and accounting rules and international mergers and acquisitions.

  • Additionally, there is a growing movement towards International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), which uses a judgment-based system to determine the fair-market value of assets and liabilities, which should increase demand for accountants because of their specialized expertise.

  • Management accountants increasingly will be needed to discover and eliminate fraud before audits, and ensure that important processes and procedures are documented accurately and thoroughly.

  • Applicants with a master's degree in accounting or a master's degree in business administration with a concentration in accounting also may have an advantage.
  • Individuals who are proficient in accounting computer software and information systems or have expertise in specialized areas—such as international business, international financial reporting standards, or current legislation—may have an advantage in getting some accounting jobs

  • Many accountants work on teams with others who have different backgrounds, so they must be able to communicate accounting and financial information clearly and concisely.

  • Regardless of qualifications, however, competition will remain keen for the most prestigious jobs in major accounting and business firms.
    Other occupations for which training in accounting is valuable include:
  • Bookkeeping,
  • Accounting and auditing,
  • Budget analysis,
  • Cost estimation,
  • Financial Analysis,
  • Loan Officers,
  • Personal financial advising,
  • Tax examination, collection, and revenue agents.

  • Some accountants have assumed the role of management analyst and are involved in the design, implementation, and maintenance of accounting software systems. Others who perform similar work include:
  • Computer network, systems, and database administrators,
  • Computer software engineers and computer programmers.

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