Accounting offers an array of career options and a strong average income. You can work in private or public company accounting, auditing, self-employment, managerial accounting, or consulting. To succeed in most of these roles, though, you usually need a bachelor's degree and certain attitudes and skills. Becoming a certified public accountant, or CPA helps as well.
Business Acumen and Management Support
Whether you are employed by a public or private organization or working for an accounting firm, you must understand what management needs from accountants in support of the business. If employed by a company, your work contributes to the success of the organization. Managers may use your financial reports to make decisions. Financial reports are also presented to owners or shareholders. If you work for an accounting firm, or in self-employment, you must show genuine interest in the welfare of the clients you represent. Care and accuracy in your work are necessary to businesses.
Autonomy-Preference with Communication Abilities
The ideal accountant has a strong preference to work autonomously, but has a solid ability to communicate with others as needed. Much of the typical day for an accountant is spent in solitude, recording transactions and preparing financial reports. However, accountants need to communicate with managers and clients about their work. Company managers may ask accountants to prepare certain financial reports or data solely to use in management decision-making. Managers and clients also rely on accountants to communicate the information presented in financial reports.
Ethics and Details
Professional accountants have an ethical attitude and a closely related talent for details. Financial record-keeping errors can lead to financial or legal problems for a company or client. Accidental errors or oversights lead to misstated records and financial reports, which can cause erroneous public reporting or tax filings. Intentionally misstated records or reports are even more significant. They can lead to fraud and criminal charges. Ethical accountants adhere to generally accepted accounting principles, legal standards, and industry association ethical codes.
Willingness to Learn and Computer Skills
Though the functional role of accounting may seem routine and unchanging, the nature of accounting and record-keeping evolves over time. Accepted accounting principles and standards evolve with new government regulations and ethical guidelines. Additionally, accounting has evolved mightily due to advances in accounting software and the integration of accounting with purchasing and other company departments. Accountants must be open to learning technology and new processes, and willing to keep up with new regulations and principles.
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