Many people tend to equate being an accountant with doing taxes. But, this career is much more diverse than it might seem. Accounting is a crucial component of any organization. Successful business accounting can attract new investors, expand your budget, bring in new clients, and increase the salaries and benefits of current employees.
Because of this, several different types of accountants do more than just taxes. Here are some examples of the different kinds of accountants out there:
Property accountants work on the financial side of real estate. They deal with the many financial requirements needed to buy and sell real estate. Job responsibilities include maintaining records of assets and funds, preparing portfolios, drawing up budgets, setting up escrow accounts, and preparing statements.
Because of the nature of their calling, property accountants have to be familiar with subjects such as ethics and performance standards of their profession.
CPA: Certified Public Accountant
Certified Public Accountants (CPA) are upper-level accountants who are experts in an organization’s accounting records, taxes, and financial standing. While some of their work does involve taxes, their involvement tends to be more in-depth than just that.
CPAs are tasked with helping their clients plan and meet their financial goals while also assisting in other fiscal matters. This could include audits and reviews, forensic accounting, consulting, and litigation services. As you see, being a CPA demands in-depth knowledge of many areas of accounting.
Staff accountants generally report to a CPA. They have to create financial reports and analyze financial data. Depending on the size of the organization, a staff accountant may also be tasked with both accounts payable and accounts receivable management, creating a budget, and reconciling bank accounts.
Generally, staff accountants also work to ensure that the organization is compliant with financial regulations that affect their particular industry. As a staff accountant gets more experience in an industry, they may also be called on to create economic forecasts.
If the term “forensic” brings images of CSI and crime shows to your mind, you are on the right track. Forensic accountants are the detectives of the accounting world. These professionals analyze financial records to ensure they’re compliant with standards and laws. Conversely, forensic accountants are brought in to uncover errors, omissions, or outright fraud.
To be a forensic accountant, you need to have an investigative mind and a deep understanding of many aspects of the profession.
In some cases, forensic accountants can testify in court as expert witnesses, but mostly they work in the investigation and litigation support.
An auditor reviews financial documents to check that they are accurate and ensure that taxes can be paid on-time. They also provide recommendations to reduce budgetary costs and to increase the profitability of a company.
Auditors are typically brought in from outside of an organization to analyze numbers without any preconceived bias.
These accounting professionals are tasked with examining financial statements, inspecting account books and accounting systems, organizing and maintaining financial records, and assessing financial operations to provide recommendations for improvement. Some even specialize in a particular area or industry.
Management accountants deal with planning and budgeting, external financial reporting, risk management, profitability analysis, and much more. Essentially, their job is to know the status of an organization’s financial health and how it could be affected. They use their knowledge and the data gathered to plan for the economic future of the company.
On top of the needed set of technical accounting skills, these professionals must possess the ability to organize information and present it in a way that is simple for business executives to comprehend.
This type of accounting is a subcategory of the management accounting mentioned above. Cost accountants are responsible for documenting, presenting, and reviewing manufacturing costs. They oversee all variable and fixed prices to see if output aligns with the cost to produce a product. They also work with managers to decide on future decisions based on the financial forecast and the progress of production.
Their duties include examining every expense associated with a company’s supply chain to conduct a profitability analysis and budget preparation. Simultaneously, cost accountants have to analyze every cost related to labor, materials, shipping, production, administration. All this info is then passed on to business leaders to help them identify ways to improve financial efficiency.
This is the name for a professional that oversees all aspects of a project that might affect the overall cost, including preparing and collecting invoices, approving expenses, verifying employees’ billable hours, planning and maintaining budgets, and ensuring the team is meeting project deadlines.
Sometimes, they work on launching a new product or help with constructing a new facility. Either way, their job is closely connected with the duties of project managers and other colleagues. That is why a project accountant must have good interpersonal and communication skills.
Financial accounting is the process of compiling financial reports for external use. Financial accountants work with their colleagues and managers to strategize how a company can be more profitable. They also track all economic activity recorded in a ledger and ensure that internal procedures are being followed and that all financial activity appears on relevant financial statements.
Their unique skill set involves having strong attention to detail to convey the current financial state to outside sources.
The primary responsibility of an investment accountant is to maintain its clients’ investments while adhering to state regulations. They may also play a role in helping develop their firm’s key financial strategy.
They typically work for brokerage and asset management firms. These accountants become extremely knowledgeable about stocks, bonds, ETFs, currencies, precious metals, and other investment vehicles. This is a fast-paced and exciting calling, but it demands quick wit and extensive knowledge of all the things accounting related.