Most jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field.
Jobseekers who obtain professional recognition through certification or licensure, a master’s degree, proficiency in accounting and auditing computer software, or specialized expertise will have an advantage in the job market.
Competition will remain keen for the most prestigious jobs in major accounting and business firms.
Nature of the Work [About this section]
Accountants and auditors help to ensure that the Nation’s firms are run more efficiently, its public records kept more accurately, and its taxes paid properly and on time. They perform these vital functions by offering an increasingly wide array of business and accounting services to their clients. Broadly, these services include public, management, and government accounting, as well as internal auditing. In each of these major fields, however, accountants and auditors continue to carry out the fundamental tasks of the occupation—prepare, analyze, and verify financial documents in order to provide information to clients.
Specific job duties vary widely in the four major fields of accounting. Public accountants perform a broad range of accounting, auditing, tax, and consulting activities for their clients, who may be corporations, governments, nonprofit organizations, or individuals. For example, some public accountants concentrate on tax matters, such as advising companies of the tax advantages and disadvantages of certain business decisions and preparing individual income tax returns. Others are consultants who offer advice in areas such as compensation or employee health care benefits; the design of accounting and data processing systems; and the selection of controls to safeguard assets. Some specialize in forensic accounting—investigating and interpreting bankruptcies and other complex financial transactions. Still others audit a client’s financial statements and report to investors and authorities that they have been prepared and reported correctly. Public accountants, many of whom are Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), generally have their own businesses or work for public accounting firms.
Management accountants—also called industrial, corporate, or private accountants—record and analyze the financial information of the companies for which they work. Other responsibilities include budgeting, performance evaluation, cost management, and asset management. They are usually part of executive teams involved in strategic planning or new product development. Management accountants analyze and interpret the financial information corporate executives need to make sound business decisions. They also prepare financial reports for non-management groups, including stockholders, creditors, regulatory agencies, and tax authorities. Within accounting departments, they may work in areas including financial analysis, planning and budgeting, and cost accounting.
Many persons with an accounting background work in the public sector. Government accountants and auditors maintain and examine the records of government agencies and audit private businesses and individuals whose activities are subject to government regulations or taxation. Accountants employed by Federal, State, and local governments guarantee that revenues are received and expenditures are made in accordance with laws and regulations. Those who are employed by the Federal Government may work as Internal Revenue Service agents or in financial management, financial institution examination, or budget analysis and administration.
An increasingly important area of accounting and auditing is internal auditing. Internal auditors verify the accuracy of their organization’s records and check for mismanagement, waste, or fraud. Specifically, they examine and evaluate their firms’ financial and information systems, management procedures, and internal controls to ensure that records are accurate and controls are adequate to protect against fraud and waste. They also review company operations—evaluating their efficiency, effectiveness, and compliance with corporate policies and procedures, laws, and government regulations. There are many types of highly specialized auditors, such as electronic data processing, environmental, engineering, legal, insurance premium, bank, and health care auditors. As computer systems make information more timely, internal auditors help managers to base their decisions on actual data, rather than personal observation. Internal auditors may also recommend controls for their organization’s computer system to ensure the reliability of the system and the integrity of the data.
Computers are rapidly changing the nature of the work for most accountants and auditors. With the aid of special software packages, accountants summarize transactions in standard formats for financial records and organize data in special formats for financial analysis. These ac
Answered By: jwishz - 9/5/2008