Career Profile: Accountants and Auditors

Career Profile: Accountants and Auditors

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Whenever there is growth this large in an industry, the demand for highly qualified individuals to fill these roles grows as well. It is becoming increasingly important for prospective accountants and auditors to distinguish themselves from the pack.

Primary Responsibilities

Accountants and auditors prepare financial records and examine them to make sure they are accurate. They also often make sure taxes are paid correctly and on time. Accountants also analyze an organization’s financial operations to make sure the organization is run efficiently.

An accountant’s day-to-day tasks include:

  • Examining financial statements to ensure accuracy and compliance
  • Organize/maintain financial records
  • Calculate taxes, prepare tax returns, and ensure proper payment
  • Make suggestions for reducing costs and increasing revenues and profits
  • Assessing financial operations
  • Oversee accounting books and systems

Background

There are a few different types of accountants and auditors that work in a multitude of roles and industries:

  • Public Accountants

    Public accountants work for public accounting firms. They perform a broad range of accounting, auditing, tax, and consulting tasks, with clients including corporations, governments, and individuals. Public accountants typically specialize in one area, such as tax or forensics.

    Many public accountants earn the distinction of Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Public accountants need to be certified if they file a report with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Publicly traded companies are required to have CPAs sign required documents such as annual and quarterly reports that are sent to the SEC.

  • Managerial Accountants

    Managerial accountants focus on the internal accounting needs of the organizations they work for. They are also sometimes referred to as private accountants. Managerial accountants typically work with internal budgeting and performance evaluation. They also often assist financial managers with planning and selecting investments such as stocks, bonds, and real estate. Public accountant certification is also often required for managerial accounting roles.

  • Government Accountants

    Government accountants work at federal, state, and local levels. Their focus is auditing and examining financial records of private individuals and businesses to ensure their compliance with laws and regulations.

    Federal government accountants often work for either the Internal Revenue Service, the Securities and Exchange Commission, or the Department of Defense. In these roles accountants review tax information and conduct financial investigations. At the state and local levels, accountants perform audits, manage budgets, and prepare financial reports.

  • Auditors

    Internal auditors work with businesses, nonprofits, and governments to ensure there is no waste, mismanagement or fraud. They look at transactions, records, management procedures, and internal controls to make sure that reported numbers are accurate.
    The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) provides certifications in order to provide generally accepted internal auditing standards. External auditors perform many of the same tasks as internal auditors, only they are employed by an outside organization.

Career Outlook

Most accounting and auditing roles require a bachelor’s degree at the minimum. Many employers do prefer to hire candidates with either a master’s degree in accounting or a master of business administration. Many accounting jobs require the CPA certification, while many auditing positions also require certification from the IIA.

The median annual wage for all accountants and auditors is $68,150; median annual wage fluctuates depending on the industry. The median annual wage for the top industries in which accountants and auditors work are as follows:

  • Finance and Insurance: $72,950
  • Management of Companies and Enterprises: $70,790
  • Accounting, Tax Preparation, Bookkeeping, and Payroll Services: $68,130
  • Government: $65,820

The total employment of accountants and auditors is projected to increase by 10 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. Employment growth of accountants and auditors is tied to the overall health of the economy.

It is clear that accounting and auditing is one of the fastest growing industries in terms of job growth. It will be important for prospective candidates to go above and beyond the minimum education and certification requirements in order to land the right job.

College Financing reference:

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