An accountant is a person who works in the accounting field for individuals or businesses. The specific material that an accountant deals with varies depending on the size of the company and the accountant’s specialization, but it typically includes financial records, taxes, and responsibility for financial report distribution. Whether working for a multinational corporation or a small family-owned business, an accountant is one of the most important figures in the company. Certification through a professional agency and a basic college degree in accounting and finance are generally required to become an accountant, depending on specialization and country.
In a small business, an accountant may be in charge of all financial records. Payroll information, accounts payable, accounts receivable, retail sales, and information about the company’s investments are all included in these records. These accounts are kept in ledgers, which are used to assess a company’s financial health. Managers and high-ranking members of a company can consult ledgers when making major business decisions because they are always kept up to date.
Internal audits are also performed accountants in larger firms to ensure that the company’s financial records are accurate. An internal audit cannot be handled an accountant who regularly handles the material in question due to bias concerns, so many companies hire outside accounting firms to conduct audits. When this is the case, the firm should not be hired to handle any of the firm’s other financial documents, as this could create a conflict of interest.
Most accountants choose to specialize in one area, such as auditing, bookkeeping, or taxes. In some cases, an accountant may need to learn a variety of skills in order to better serve his or her clients. This is common among CPAs who manage the books for a number of small businesses at the same time. In both cases, the accountant must possess strong math skills as well as a formal accounting education.
State certification may be required depending on the type of accounting being performed. State certification is typically required for accountants who perform audits and other sensitive accounting tasks, but not for accounting clerks who work under certified accountants. An accountant is usually a member of a professional accounting organization, and attends meetings and seminars to stay up to date on the latest developments in the field.