In these tough economic times, accountants are more integral to the way businesses operate than ever before. They advise on where to save money, how to spend profit properly, and so much more.
If you’re a bit of a whizz with numbers, keep reading and we’ll explain all about the world of accountancy.
What do accountants do?
Accountants are employed by companies and individuals to assist with various business issues. They can be involved in detecting fraud, providing advice on tax issues, analysing profit and loss and generally ensuring that all the numbers add up. Moreover, they serve to pinpoint precisely where companies are making and losing money.
It’s an accountant’s responsibility to know the economy inside-out, so that they can help the company to obtain as much of their profits as possible. This requires an excellent knowledge of maths, accounting, finance and law.
What do I need to be a good accountant?
You have to be very good with numbers for a career in accountancy. Many employers will look for candidates with a degree in accountancy, maths, economics or another financially-related subject.
However, graduate training schemes are common in this sector and graduates from all disciplines can train on the job to obtain the right skills and knowledge. Effectively, you can get into accountancy without a degree; however, to compete for the most desirable positions, a degree would be strongly recommended.
As far as everyday skills are concerned, you’ll need to be an excellent communicator, and have the technical ability to be able to convey financial information to colleagues, clients and your seniors.
You could get an edge over other candidates by getting some great work experience. You could shadow an accountant or get on a work experience scheme with a larger organisation in order to learn the ropes and understand how the working environment operates.
What are some different accountancy roles?
If you take on an in-house accountancy role, you’ll be involved in preparing profit and loss statements and accounting reports, as well as providing key information for the company’s annual report. You’ll even be asked to cast your eagle-eye over contracts, budgets, pension schemes and grants to ensure everything is as it should be.
You may also spend some of your time explaining billing and invoicing procedures to staff, colleagues and even clients. Depending on how quickly they get the hang of it, this could take anything from a few minutes to a couple of hours.
More often than not, companies employ accountants internally on a permanent basis. This way, they can become more familiar with how the specific company operates and make long-term investment suggestions based on the numbers they crunch and the figures they analyse.
However, sometimes external accountants are employed. These guys are more neutral and can sometimes spot something that may have been missed internally. External audits are also useful to ensure that nothing fraudulent is going down.
Some accountants might even specialise in tax accountancy. These guys focus their efforts on helping their company or clients to pay tax in the most cost-effective and resourceful way. Moreover, they also help their clients to make sure that they pay their taxes in accordance with tax regulations as defined by the HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs).
So if you feel that all the different aspects of accountancy could add up to equal the perfect career path for you, check out our jobs board or click on the relevant occupational profiles below and find out more:
- Tax Advisor
- Accountant Technician
- Chartered Certified Accountant
- Chartered Management Accountant
- Chartered Public Finance Accountant.