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Accountant Overview

Keeping and reviewing financial records is hugely critical to any business, especially larger companies. Accountants are the people who create the systems to organize, track, check and report on the flow of money in and out of a business. They’re also responsible for ensuring that companies are following financial regulations. 

Consider working as an accountant if you’re detail-oriented, good with numbers, and work well with deadlines.

Responsibilities

  • Set up systems for tracking and monitoring expenses and accounts. Some of this will be through software programs, but will also involve communicating with different parts of a business to collect their reports.
  • Prepare documentation. There are a number of regulated processes that require businesses to report how much money they’re making and where it’s coming from. Accountants are trained to prepare these documents.
  • Audit and reconcile accounts. On a monthly, quarterly, and yearly basis, accountants comb back over their records to make sure that they know where all of a company’s money has gone so they can pay any outstanding balances.
  • Provide feedback to companies. Accountants are well-versed in the part of a business that makes money or costs money, and can offer advice on growing a business or saving money.

Skills

  • Organization. You’ll need to be great at categorizing information and making sure documents get to the right place at the right time.
  • Analytical skills. Accountants can tell when there are problems or discrepancies and are good at drawing a narrative from the numbers.
  • Attention to detail. Accuracy is key to accounting. 
  • Strong computer skills. An in-depth knowledge of Excel is a good place to start, but there are other software programs your company may use that you’ll need to learn to navigate.

Experience

You can’t become an accountant overnight. Most employers are looking for accountants with at least a bachelor’s degree in business or accounting, plus several years of experience.

Many companies are looking for Certified Public Accountants, who have master’s degree and pass a series of exams, which qualifies them to prepare taxes and other more complex processes. If you think you’re interested in accounting, it makes sense to get some bookkeeping experience and a formal education.

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