What does an Accountant do?
Accountants are responsible for a wide variety of finance-related tasks that are primarily associated with preparing financial records. These tasks oftentimes include computing taxes and preparing tax returns, organizing and maintaining financial records, and ensuring statements are accurate. Accountants in the United States must perform all of this work while abiding by Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).
Accountants generally have a bachelor's degree in accounting, finance, or a related field. In addition, many accountants have a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) credential, which is obtained by passing a national exam and a completing a minimum number of college coursework hours. Accountants usually fall into one of four categories: public accountant, management accountant, government accountant, or internal auditor.
- Assist in the preparation of financial reports such as financial statements and budget performance
- Ensure compliance with applicable standards (i.e. GAAP, FASB), rules, regulations, and systems of internal control
- Aid in the implementation of new accounting policies, standards, and guidelines
- Provide accurate, timely, and relevant recording, reporting, and analysis of financial information
- Identify areas for improvement and implement improvements to processes
- Assist with and act as the primary point-of-contact for auditor requests
- Handle sensitive information in a confidential manner
- Bachelor's degree in Accounting, Finance, or a related field, or an equivalent combination of education, training and experience
- 2-5 years of accounting/finance experience
- Demonstrate intermediate to advanced skills and knowledge of Excel, as well as other Microsoft Office applications
- Strong analytical and problem-solving skills
- Experience with accounting software
- Excellent interpersonal skills to communicate effectively across the organization
- Thorough knowledge of general ledger accounting and account reconciliation
- Highly detail-oriented
Average Base Pay
Accountant Career Path
Learn how to become an Accountant, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.
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Frequently asked questions about the role and responsibilities of accountants
Accountants spend their day recording the financial data of a company or individual. They also prepare tax returns and conduct risk analyses and financial forecasts. They must ensure the accuracy of all transactions.
Accountancy is a good career for those who enjoy working with numbers, and it's a very stable career. The hours and working environment are generally good, although tax deadlines can mean longer hours at times.
Yes, successful accountants get paid reasonably well. The average base pay of an accountant in the United States is $4,245 per year. The most experienced and skilled accountants can make up to $10,000 per year.
Working as an accountant can be challenging at times. They must ensure that all financial transactions are correct and legally compliant. They can also experience more pressure as financial and tax deadlines approach.