What Does an Accountant Do?

an accountant checking a receipt, one of many common accounting tasksAn accountant accounts for things, though it’s actually a bit more complicated than that. There are many different kinds of accountants and auditors, so the duties and responsibility of an accountant will vary. One kind of accountant may ensure that data-entry processes are accurate, while another might sit with high-level executives and provide recommendations on budgetary concerns. All in all, the accountant job description involves tasks related to the financial well-being of a company, trust, nonprofit, or agency.

Accounting Tasks and General Duties

an accountant using a calculator and computer as part of their dutiesPeople may need to complete any of these duties as an accountant:

  1. Prepare and ensure the accuracy of important business reports, such as profit and loss statements
  2. Ensure that bookkeeping practices adhere to federal, state, and local regulations and laws
  3. Maintain accounting processes, including ensuring accurate input and reliable storage of key data
  4. Improve any processes when possible to increase accuracy and consistency
  5. Find and address any accounting discrepancies
  6. Make any applicable budget recommendations to businesses after analyzing trends
  7. Collaborate with external or internal auditors
  8. Handle tax information, including tax returns

What Does an Accountant Do for a Small Business?

You can expect your duties as an accountant to vary depending on the size of a company. One key difference at a small business is that all of the duties will often fall to one person, while at a larger firm, accountants often work in teams rather than as individuals, with each person managing one aspect of accounting operations. An accounting department may even be split up into key teams, such as reporting teams, procurement teams, or bookkeeping teams, that share the duties and responsibility of an accountant. A large company may employ as many as 50 to 100 people to handle its books, but small businesses will tend to lump accounting duties into an owner’s overall responsibilities. This means that duties typically delegated to an accountant (such as avoiding losses and gaining profits) may not get enough attention. That’s why so many small businesses choose to invest in outsourced accounting services.

Common Types of Accountants

What is an accountant, and what does an accountant do? The answer to what’s in an accountant job description depends partly on the kinds of accounting careers you’re talking about. There are several different types:

  1. Public accountants, like those at Ignite Spot, who work for the general public
  2. Private accountants, who work for only one firm
  3. Fiduciary accountants, who work within a trust
  4. Governmental accountants, who work with government institutions like the IRS
  5. Forensic accountants, who are used during or while anticipating litigation
  6. Management accountants, who often assist executive-level teams

These are just a few examples; included in the accountant definition are project, social, and sustainability accounting as well. These kinds of accountants may go about their duties in different ways, but the overall goal remains the same: to protect and ensure the financial welfare and growth of a company.

What Does an Accountant Do on a Daily Basis?

Because the key responsibilities of accountants vary so wildly, each accountant may perform different everyday tasks. These accounting tasks might include looking at physical copies of books or payroll information or ensuring the security of an online system. An accountant may spend the day organizing invoices, preparing statements, analyzing information, or supervising systems.

How Many Hours a Day Does an Accountant Work?

Some work ordinary 40-hour weeks, and others work more strenuously. Some work part-time. This all depends on the nature of the business in question and how complex its financial needs are. Ignite Spot’s plans and services are customized to meet the needs of your business, so we can work out a plan to supply you with as much or as little outsourced accounting support as you need.

Very rarely does accounting stay the same every day, and part of the role of an accountant is to not only complete tasks but to know which tasks need to be completed. At Ignite Spot, we know what needs to be done and how to complete those tasks quickly. If you own a small business that needs an accounting team at its side, contact us or download more information today.

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Written by Eddy Hood