The Accounting field includes all processes involved in the recording, analysis, and interpretation of financial transactions of a business or an individual. Accountants are responsible for the maintenance and completion of spreadsheets and financial books. They’re also tasked with reporting, summarizing, and overseeing transactions and mediating with tax collection entities and other governmental agencies.
Accountants are employed in a wide variety of companies and enterprises. They usually work in one of three ways: as part of a company’s staff, in an Accounting firm, or being self-employed. Accountants working in a company are often part of the Accounting or Finance departments. Most companies with one or both of these departments are considered large companies and can afford to hire an Accountant to oversee all their financial activities. Smaller companies usually rely on Accounting firms that offer their services to third parties. These firms are mostly comprised of Accountants with different areas of expertise to cover as much business as possible. Self-employed accountants are usually experienced enough to maintain their business by themselves and to work with both individual and private clients.
Accounting professionals are usually responsible for the following:
- Running financial audits for clients.
- Managing and updating financial records, systems, and budgets.
- Calculating and preparing payrolls, utility cheques, invoices, and other bills.
- Documenting financial, auditing, and tax return reports for clients.
- Projecting future statistics for the company based on current balances.
- Preparing new financial and tax reports for clients and analyzing existing ones, ensuring they comply with current standards and legislations.
- Advising clients on financial matters (e.g. business improvement, cost reductions, and insolvency).
All professionals working in the Accounting field usually share the same characteristics, which include, but are not limited to:
- Possessing excellent communication skills:
- Being highly analytical and detail-oriented.
- Having outstanding numeric and mathematical skills.
- Having excellent organizational and time management skills.
- Being good with computers.
- Possessing high levels of integrity and honesty.
Most entry-level jobs in the Accounting field require applicants to have at least a college or university degree in Accounting, Business, Economics, Finances, or Mathematics. Other fields of study are also acceptable, as long as they are relevant to the position applied for. Accounting firms often offer internships for undergraduate students at college or university job fairs. Previous work experience in Retail and Customer Service can also be an asset for aspiring Accountants.
Companies and accounting firms also encourage their staff to pursue further certification as Chartered Accountants with any specialization they desire. The Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) is an organization dedicated to standardizing, regulating, and certificating all accounting activities throughout the country. Once certified, they become Chartered Professional Accountants and may apply for higher-ranked positions and better wages. With enough years of experience and a good set of customers, many certified Accountants choose to start their own practice or become self-employed. The certification process can last up to 3 years of courses and also requires 3 years of experience working in the Accounting field.
The usual working hours for most professionals working in Accounting is regular office hours. However, it is not uncommon for people working in Accounting to have to work extra hours, especially during times of intense work (e.g. the beginning and ending of the fiscal year and tax return season). It is also very common for people working in Accounting to have to travel to their clients’ premises to perform audits and meet with them.