What Does an Accountant Do?
Written by Eddy Hood
What is an accountant? An accountant is someone who accounts for things, though it’s actually a bit more complicated than that. There are many different kinds of accountants and auditors who perform many different kinds of business functions. One kind of accountant may ensure that data-entry processes are accurate, whereas another might sit with high-level executives and provide recommendations on budgetary concerns. All in all, accounting careers are concerned with the financial well-being of a company, trust, nonprofit, or agency.
What Does an Accountant Do for a Company?
An accountant job description may include any of the following duties:
Prepare and ensure accuracy of important business reports, such as profit and loss statements
Ensure that bookkeeping practices adhere to federal, state, and local regulations and laws
Maintain accounting processes, including ensuring accurate input and reliable storage of key data
Improve any processes when possible to increase accuracy and consistency
Find and address any accounting discrepancies
Make any applicable budget recommendations to businesses after analyzing trends
Collaborate with external or internal auditors
Handle tax information (including tax returns)
Accountants often work in teams rather than working alone as individuals performing all accounting operations for entire companies. Depending on the size of a company, an accounting department may even be split up into key teams, such as reporting teams, procurement teams, or bookkeeping teams. A large company may employ as many as 50 to 100 people. Small businesses, on the other hand, 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 go ignored. 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:
Public accountants, like those at Ignite Spot, who work for the general public
Private accountants, who work for only one firm
Fiduciary accountants, who work within a trust
Governmental accountants, who work with government institutions like the IRS
Forensic accountants, who are used during or while anticipating litigation
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 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. Some work ordinary 40-hour work weeks, and others work more strenuously.
Very rarely does accounting stay the same every day. 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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