who is an accountant?

An accountant is a professional who monitors the financial health of both individuals and businesses. An accountant with a private practice will work with tax preparation, investment strategies and wealth management. An accountant in a business can play several roles in maintaining records, analysing costs and presenting financial reports.

Would working as an accountant suit your mathematical skills and attention to detail? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a service representative role.


accountant roles

average salary of an accountant

Accountants’ salaries cover a wide range, based on the type of accountant and the role the employee plays in an organisation. Experience is also a factor in determining an accountant’s wages. An entry-level bookkeeper may make about ₹2,50,000 per annum. A certified public accountant who is just starting can expect a salary of around ₹3,50,000 per annum. An experienced CPA with a large company can receive ₹15,00,000 per annum or more. Generally, accountant salaries range between ₹3,00,000 to ₹15,00,000 per annum.


types of accountants

Some types of accountants include:

  • Certified Public Accountant: a CPA is both a job description and a certification. To receive this title, you need an accounting degree, complete the designated number of state-mandated hours as an accountant and pass a state CPA qualification exam. These professionals take on advanced accounting and finance positions in an organisation. They also act as consultants as individuals and businesses plan for the future.
  • Cost Accountant: a cost accountant works with the financial nuts and bolts of the manufacturing world. This employee is responsible for tracking actual costs and minimising waste. A cost accountant works through the entire workflow, from ordering to delivery to find ways to save money. Businesses with low profit margins depend on cost accountants to ensure they are profitable.
  • Tax Accountant: both individuals and businesses must deal with taxes. A tax accountant is a professional who specialises in tax preparation and resolution. A tax accountant/chartered accountant may be a team member in an accounting firm. Many large businesses have positions for accountants who navigate state, federal and international tax laws.
  • Forensic Accountant: forensic accountants are advanced auditors who trace money when it has disappeared. For law enforcement and the IRS, forensic accountants will look for illegal financial practices or hidden income. Companies hire forensic accountants in cases of theft/misappropriation of funds. These accountants not only trace the money, but also seek to find a way to get it back.
  • Bookkeeper: to maintain financial transparency, larger organisations employ bookkeepers as well as accountants. In years past, the bookkeeper was the person who physically wrote entries into a financial ledger. In the digital era, a bookkeeper is responsible for entering daily transactions into accounting software. Then, senior accountants analyse this data to prepare reports and offer advice.
  • Investment Accountant: investment accountants help individuals and businesses with financial planning and investing. While many general accountants work with investments, professional investment accountants focus solely on this aspect of the job. Accountants in this field develop investment strategies for long-term and short-term growth.
  • Auditor: many organisations require a regular audit for financial transparency. Having an auditor examine the books prevents theft/misappropriation of funds and other irregularities. Some accounting practices devote themselves to providing external audits for businesses.
  • Ledger Accountant: for many accountants, your career begins with a position as a ledger accountant. These junior-level professionals may be team members of an accounting department or might be the dedicated accountant for a branch or division. Ledger accountants perform basic accounting tasks, like balancing books, filing reports and checking the accuracy of all financial data.
  • Junior or Senior Accountant: in some job descriptions, you will see a distinction between senior and junior accountants. The title refers to the duties of the employee. In this arrangement, junior accountants do more of the day-to-day data entry and book balancing. Senior accountants then analyse the work and present the reports to management. Experienced accountants can apply directly for senior positions. After a few years, a junior accountant could be promoted to a senior position.

working as an accountant

As an accountant, you may work in a wide range of different fields or specialities. In all cases, your commitment to exacting standards of accuracy is what sets you apart. Your work is central to many areas of business and personal finance, so you often bear a lot of responsibility.


education and skills

You need some level of education and training to apply for a job as an accountant. Some educational options include:  

  • A college degree: at a minimum, people who apply for an entry-level accounting position will need a bachelor’s degree. If your degree is not in accounting, you will need extra training in areas like financial reporting and tax preparation. You could also consider the benefits of getting a master’s degree in accounting. It is possible to take an entry-level bookkeeping position without a degree, but it will be difficult to advance your career without one.
  • CPA training: many accounting job descriptions either require or give preference to certified public accountants. The requirements for receiving your CPA vary from state to state. You will need some advanced training as well as practical experience in the accounting field. Once you have accomplished the base requirements, you must pass your state’s CPA exam. This test has a reputation for being challenging. In some years, less than half of the people who take it pass.
  • Continuing education: CPAs are required to take a certain number of continuing education hours to maintain their certification. Tax laws change every year, and businesses expect their accountants to understand the new rules. Other accountants will also require continuing studies to keep their skills relevant. An independent accountant will need to handle the cost of this additional education. For a staff accountant, your employer may cover the cost of these classes.

skills and competencies

A career as an accountant is not for everyone. Mistakes in the accounting department can have a serious impact on the business. Employers need their accounting staff to have the right skills and mindset. The following skills will help you to excel as an accountant:

  • Maths skills: people who enjoy a career in accounting often have a natural affinity for mathematics. They may be able to manipulate numbers quickly without a calculator. However, accountants do not need to understand advanced mathematical concepts to excel. Figuring profits and losses is a matter of basic addition and subtraction. Accountants should be comfortable with the language of statistics to create and interpret reports.
  • Attention to detail: an accountant who pays attention to detail is a strong asset to a company. Part of a cost accountant’s job is to look for ways to lower costs and increase profits. Saving a few cents on a manufacturing process can add a great deal to a company’s bottom line over a year.
  • Computer skills: accountants do most of their work on computers. They must be able to create spreadsheets and work with accounting software programs. Also, this employee must be comfortable with online communication methods like email and video conferencing tools.
  • Organisational skills: the record-keeping aspect of an accountant’s job requires a high level of organisation. For tracking purposes, the accountant must maintain digital files so that an outside auditor can quickly find necessary data. A well-organised person will make time-consuming tasks like month-end closing more efficient.
  • Communication skills: an accountant must translate financial information in a meaningful way. Company managers depend on clear communication for making decisions. An accountant is a person who helps leaders understand the financial health of their organisation.

FAQs about working as an accountant

FAQs about working as an accountant:

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