What Does an Accountant Do?

Team of accountants work on a financial report

Every business needs its finances closely monitored, which is why accounting is such a popular career path. Accountants are primarily responsible for maintaining and analyzing the financial records of a company, ensuring the organization is managing its money efficiently. If you think a career as an accountant is right for you, then you should consider an accounting degree.

Here are a few things to keep in mind while pursuing a career in accounting.

Important Required Skills 

If you’re considering this career path, it is important to know what makes a great accountant.

A few of the valuable skills accountants need include:

  • Basic Math: Most people think accountants need to be math experts, but this isn’t entirely true. Accountants typically only need basic math skills to handle responsibilities like analyzing and comparing numbers.
  • Attentiveness: Accounting is all about the details, which is why good accountants are very attentive. Because accountants are responsible for financial data, they must pay close attention to every detail to avoid making any mistakes that could impact a company’s cash flow.
  • Analytical Focus: Accountants don’t just keep track of financial data. They also analyze the data to help their clients make the best decisions to promote success and growth.
  • Organization: Staying organized is important for many different industries, and accounting is no exception. Accountants must be highly organized in order to handle multiple clients, meet deadlines and follow proper reporting guidelines. Each client comes with a significant amount of documentation that you will need to keep track of. Disorganized accountants will struggle to keep track of important paperwork.
  • Communication: A key requirement of any accounting job is sharing data with clients. That’s why it is important for accountants to have good communication skills. Being able to expertly communicate allows accountants to share information in a way that clients can understand.
  • Auditing: Audit accountants perform audits on companies – internally or externally – to ensure that proper financial and accounting practices are being performed. It is important for accountants to have solid auditing skills to succeed in these jobs.

Common Responsibilities

While there is no set list of responsibilities that every accountant will encounter during their career, there are a few common responsibilities that many accountants handle.

Some of these include:

  • Compiling Financial Data: Accountants are typically responsible for compiling and organizing financial data. This data can include purchase receipts, sales records and other statements. Along with compiling this information, accountants will need to make sure all figures are accurate and all documents comply with updated laws and regulations.
  • Creating Financial Reports: Clients rely on accountants to help them figure out the best ways to achieve growth. That is why accountants are responsible for using the information they’ve gathered to create financial reports. These reports will help clients understand their current financial situation and determine if they should consider making changes within their company.
  • Issuing Invoices: All companies need to make money, which is why they need to charge customers in a timely and organized manner. Accountants often shoulder this responsibility. In addition to issuing invoices, accountants also need to keep track of who has, or has not, paid their invoices.
  • Managing Payroll: Accountants can also take on the responsibility of managing payroll for their clients. This responsibility includes keeping track of how many hours each employee works and how much each employee should be paid.

Different Types of Jobs

Accounting plays an important role in every industry, which is why there are many different types of accounting jobs available. After earning an accounting degree, graduates can consider pursuing a variety of accounting-related careers.

Some of the different types of accounting jobs include:

  • Financial Accountants: These accountants typically work at a company and handle all responsibilities discussed above.
  • Tax Accountants: These accountants specialize in handling state and federal tax returns for both individuals and businesses.
  • Nonprofit Accountants: Unlike other types of accountants, these professionals are focused on minimizing costs for the nonprofit organizations that employ them.
  • International Accountants: Some businesses work internationally, which is why they need accountants that are familiar with international tax laws. These accountants ensure that their clients follow various regulations and improve overall growth.
  • Forensic Accountants: These accountants provide litigation support and investigative services. They work with law enforcement to uncover the truth in a shady financial situation.

Are you interested in learning more about becoming an accountant? If so, the business degree and management degree programs at Grand Canyon University can help you on your academic journey. We can help you gain the skills needed to find a rewarding career in the accounting industry. You can learn more about what to expect from the Bachelor of Science in Accounting degree program on our website. If you have more questions about the accounting degree program, you can click the Request More Information button at the top of this page.

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