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Accountant Job Description

Written by: Evie Courtier
Published on: 12 Jun 2023

Accountant Job Description

  • What is an Accountant?

    An accountant can be swiftly defined as a finance professional, responsible for recording, analysing, and reporting financial transactions and key information to individuals, businesses, companies and government entities. Working in an accountant job will see you place primary responsibility on ensuring the accuracy and integrity of financial records, helping stakeholders to make informed financial decisions.

    Alongside conducting account analysis, auditing, and/or financial statement analysis, those in Accountancy roles may prepare tax returns, advise on areas that require more efficiencies and cost-savings, and provide risk analysis and forecasting. Working as an accountant will see you placed in an accounting firm, corporation with an internal accounting department, or working as a self-employed individual, conducting your own private practice

    Responsibilities and necessary areas of expertise will depend on various external factors, such as the type of company you work for, the sector you enter (private or public), and the level of seniority you hold within the business. Many accountants choose to become Certified Public Accountants - a designation considered to be the gold standard amongst the profession - whereas others retain part-qualified status.

    Whatever route you choose to follow, the accounting landscape offers an interesting and prosperous career path for those involved.

  • What does an Accountant do?

    The responsibilities you hold in an Accountant job will depend on your company, industry you work in, and level of qualification. However, as a basic rule of thumb, duties will include:

    • Financial Recording: maintaining and updating financial records by recording various transactions including sales and purchases, expenses, and payments, utilising accounting software or manual methods.
    • Financial Analysis: analysing financial data to identify trends, patterns, and discrepancies, tp provide insight into the financial health and performance of an individual or company.
    • Financial Reporting: preparing financial statements, such as, income statements, cash flow statements, and balance sheets to summarise the financial position and performance of an entity.
    Tax Compliance: aiding individuals and businesses to comply with tax laws and regulations by preparing and filing tax returns and advising on tax planning strategies. Budgeting and Financial Planning: assisting in the creation of budgets, arranging financial goals, and developing strategies to achieve them.
    Auditing: for those working in auditing firms, an accountancy role will involve reviewing and examining financial records to ensure accuracy, adherence to accounting principles, and compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
    • Advisory Services: offering financial and business advisory services, providing insights and recommendations to improve financial performance, optimising operational efficiency, and mitigating risks.

  • How to become an Accountant:

    • The pathway to achieving an accountant role will usually start with the accomplishment of an undergraduate degree in finance and accountancy. Giving you a natural edge in an interview, an established accounting foundation will stand you in good stead in achieving your first accountancy role. Alternatively, you can search for accredited programmes that provide an overview of accounting principles, taxation, auditing, and financial analysis. Advanced education, in the accomplishment of a master’s degree will also provide further knowledge, and open additional career opportunities.

    • Obtaining practical and hands-on experience will help you apply your knowledge and develop crucial skills to thrive in future positions. Seek internships and entry-level positions in accounting firms, businesses, or government organisations to get kick-started. Discover the latest entry-level accounting jobs on GAAPweb.

    • Pursuing professional certifications will enhance your employability and credentials as an accountant. Studying towards a professional accountancy qualification such as CIMA, ACA or ACCA will enhance your future employability prospects. Our partner, the professional body of the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA) offers a range of qualifications for you to choose from.

    • Stay in tune with regulations and industry trends. Accounting standards and regulations continuously evolve over time, so it's crucial to stay informed about changes and updates. Educate yourself through professional development programs, workshops, seminars, and reading industry publications.

    • Network and seek opportunities: build a professional network by joining accounting associations, attending industry events, and connecting with professionals in the field. Consider specialisation: as you gain experience, you may choose to specialise in a particular area of accounting, such as auditing, taxation, forensic accounting, or management accounting. Having a specialism will help to distinguish yourself in the field.

  • Accountant Career Path:

    An accountant career path is not a linear process, and will naturally depend on an individual’s goals, type of company you join, educational background and professional experience/qualifications. The usual course of action begins with a ‘staff accountant’ position, often placed in public accounting firms, or corporations. Within which you will be responsible for recording transactions, preparing financial documents, and assisting with audits and tax filings.

    A natural progression would be to a mid-weight senior accountant role. With a few years experience under your belt, you could take on more responsibility, taking on the review of financial statements, analysis of data and overseeing junior staff.

    Gaining a managerial role, as an Accounting Manager comes with additional experience and expertise. Within an Accounting Manager job you will be overseeing the accounting operations or a department or company, managing staff and budgeting, financial reporting, and ensuring compliance.

    In the accounting industry, there’s a myriad of ways to find your best fit. Specialising in certain areas, and conducting leadership positions, all open doors. As an accountant, you could transfer into a Financial Controller job, work as a Finance Analyst, Tax Manager, and eventually a CFO (Chief FInancial Officer), or Finance Director job.

  • Accountant Jobs on GAAPWeb:

    Ready to commence your job search? At GAAPweb we advertise the latest Accountant jobs, as well as senior and management roles from Finance Manager to CFO level. View the latest vacancies and start your job search today.

    Looking to hire an accountant? Advertise with us - find out more at GAAP Recruiter Services.