Career Explainer: What Does an Accountant Do?

what is an accountant

Outsourcing can offer many advantages because it allows you to take advantage of specialized skill sets that may not be available when hiring someone in-house. Accounting is the process of recording, classifying and summarizing financial transactions. It provides a clear picture of the financial health of your organization and its performance, which can serve as a catalyst for resource management and strategic growth.

  • Accountants work with other managers, reporting regularly on their companies’ financial status.
  • CPAs have real influence over their clients, which means their judgment and work can affect not just an individual but an entire company—including its employees, its board, and its investors.
  • The Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Pakistan (ICMAP) offers accountant studies in Pakistan.
  • By 2031, employment of accountants and auditors is expected to grow 6%, and there will be more than 135,000 job openings in the field each year, according to the U.S.
  • So, yeah, they should know their way around a computer—and be willing to learn new technology.

ICAP was established under The Chartered Accountants Ordinance, 1961 as a self-regulatory body. U.S. tax laws grant CPAs and EAs a form of accountant–client privilege. Excepting the Association of Certified Public Accountants, each of the above bodies admits members only after passing examinations and undergoing a period of relevant work experience. Once admitted, members are expected to comply with ethical guidelines and gain appropriate professional experience.

Key Soft Skills to Succeed in Accounting

This is the act of tracking and reporting income and expenses related to your company’s taxes. You don’t want to be in a situation where you have to pay more income tax than is normally required by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). According to the BLS, accountants in the U.S. earned a median annual income of $77,250 as of 2021. Depending on an accountant’s experience level, industry and location, they may make even more. Every accountant follows a different path, but for many, the process takes about six years. This includes four years to earn a bachelor’s in accounting and another two years to complete a master’s program or gain enough work experience to qualify for an accounting certification.

It could be anywhere from $30,000 to over $500,000 annually, depending on the title and experience. Whereas you might only periodically consult your accountant, a bookkeeper touches base more frequently and handles daily accounting tasks. Regardless of who you hire, knowing basic accounting principles can help you understand your business better and have more productive conversations with your financial team. You can use accounting to track cash flow and quantify your company’s financial health.

When is Form 1116 required?

As pioneers in online higher education since 1989, University of Phoenix is an accredited online university for working adults. We are proud to offer quality educational pathways through flexible, career-focused online degrees, certificates and professional development courses that fit into your life and options to save you time and money. Our students are supported every step of the way, including career services for life. You don’t have to rush into a degree unless you are certain that it will support your career goals. For example, consider whether an accounting degree or a finance degree can give you the appropriate skills to land a job you love.

what is an accountant

It also offers flexibility (there are so many specialties!), opportunity (there’s demand!), and compensation (it pays!). Ultimately accountants build trust with consumers and investors, forming what Heller calls the “bedrock of trust” in the economy. If this appeals to you—and you’re drawn to the types of roles and responsibilities described above—accounting could be the right path. With so many options, you’ll likely be able to find a role with the right work environment for you. Note that despite the name, CPAs and all other types of accountants can find opportunities in public or private accounting. Many of the mundane accounting tasks, like manual data entry and calculations, have been taken over by artificial intelligence, machine learning, natural language processing, and other innovations.

Accounting Explained With Brief History and Modern Job Requirements

University of Phoenix does not guarantee employment, salary level or career advancement. Information for a specific state/city can be researched on the BLS website. If you don’t know your way around an Excel spreadsheet, take some time to practice. You might even take an online course to ensure you’re at the top of your game before applying for accounting jobs or a graduate program.


Accountants are responsible for recording, organizing, and analyzing financial transactions for businesses and individuals. They prepare financial statements, such as balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements, to provide an overview of an organization’s financial performance. Accountants may also handle tasks like tax preparation, bookkeeping, budgeting, and financial reporting. They ensure compliance with accounting What is the best startup accounting software? principles and regulations, helping businesses maintain accurate financial records and make informed financial decisions. Auditor

Auditors are professionals who review and examine an organization’s financial records and processes to ensure accuracy, transparency, and adherence to accounting standards and regulatory requirements. Their primary role is to conduct independent and unbiased assessments of financial statements and internal controls.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Accountants

This examination is designed and graded by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). While not every accounting professional requires auditing skills, it can be a useful skill since it ensures financial data is accurately depicted in accordance with modern accounting standards. Upon first glance, accounting might seem like a fairly straightforward profession⁠—it’s just crunching numbers, right? While it’s true that working with financial data is a substantial part of the job, accounting is a critical business function that involves much more problem solving than you may think.