What do your days consist of?
My days as an auditor consist of maintaining strong client relationships, focusing on the details, using professional skepticism, and upholding the highest level of integrity. Accountants are not out there saving lives, although some days it feels like it. When hiring someone else to review or be responsible for your finances, you are putting significant faith in their technical skillset, industry knowledge, regulation compliance, and confidentiality practices. As the accountant/auditor, we are trusted to provide top quality work for the lowest/most reasonable expense to our client. At the end of the day, we are providing our professional services, which comes with difficult decisions and personal sacrifice when juggling both the client’s and regulator’s expectations. Accounting and auditing requires major attention to detail and interpersonal skills; so if you like working with numbers and are willing to put in the time and effort, this is the right profession for you.
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Hi Jaylyn, congrats on being an entrepreneur at a young age. Learning Accounting definitely provides a strong foundation that will get your business far.
As an auditor it is really hard to describe a typical day because there is really no typical routine to me. It is ever-changing and you face new challenges everyday, just like you managing your own company. But I will give you a few major tasks and I do see the soft skills you learn in this job will follow you.
We definitely work closely with clients, build relationship, and solve problems. I see this as great opportunity to develop your communication skills and find your own style;
We spend lots of time understanding and learning a company's business process and develop testing plans. I won't get into too much audit specific details, but it is almost like a mind-game to me to put puzzle pieces together. You will need to have great attention to detail, as most other jobs require, and have strong task management skills.
We also take the time to learn new digital tools and how they make our work better and quicker. That is something I was not expecting but appreciated the most after I started working.
Hope that helps.
Starting your own business is a very exciting career goal. The accounting field is a great starting point on the path to owning your own company. I think Anna made some great points in her answer. I'll add a few more of my thoughts here - hopefully they help!
On a day to day basis, I think the following list incorporates some of the important skills successful accounts need:
- Ability to communicate complex issues and solutions concisely, both verbally and in writing. You also have to tailor your message to the recipient (the right amount of detail, technical jargon, etc.).
- Project management - the ability to juggle multiple clients and various demands on your time, thinking through timelines to help clients plan, anticipating issues that may arise, etc
- Willingness to be a lifelong learner. The world is constantly changing and the accounting field today is radically different from what it was even a few years ago. Technology has transformed accounting and will continue to do so in the future. Businesses everywhere must implement technology solutions to compete. In the professional services industry, data analytics and visualization tools are an integral part of how we serve our clients.
- Working with and leading teams. Coaching and fostering the professional development of the people you work with is a big part of your job. It’s also important to celebrate the uniqueness each team member brings to the table. Diversity can encompass so much more than race or religion - the ability to have candid conversations with your coworkers to find out what makes them special and what they value is incredibly important to building trust and fostering a healthy work environment.
Don't hesitate to reach out if you have any other questions - good luck!
Honestly, your day-to-day will change every single day. From my perspective as a public accountant in the audit practice, my day-to-day will consist of e-mails, meetings, research, client relationship building and much more.
In the audit practice, the yearly structure of your project is well known, however the day-today is essentially building a plan and following the plan to make sure the entire project is executed smoothly. Some days will be harder and busier than others but you have to role with the punches and put your best foot forward whenever it is super busy knowing that the slower days are coming.
Auditing is an great learning opportunity and having the ability to work each day and do something knew is a part of the excitement of being an auditor!
As you can see from the various responses, depending on your role/time of the year, your day can consist of a variety of things. With that said, my college professors consistently told me that accounting is the language of business and I couldn't agree more. I specifically started my career in public accounting as an external auditor. Beginning my career as an external auditor has allowed me to learn about a business and industry from start to finish, which is especially helpful if you ever wanted to start your own business.
In general, I would say my career involves problem-solving and project management. As times constantly change (especially now), it is important to remain professionally skeptical and ask the right questions. This helps keep the job interesting and prevents tasks from becoming repetitive. Finally, I will say when considering starting your own business, networking is super important. With a career in public accounting, I have been able to create relationships with both clients and professionals of all ages/experience. As you continue to develop relationships, you will find those people you connect with and help guide you to make decisions that are best for your career and professional development.
Accounting is a broad industry. Unlike the others who have answered this question before me, I am a tax accountant, providing assistance with clients for federal, state and international tax questions and deliverables. While my job is a tax accountant, I'm able to help clients with general business questions since as the advisor at a large firm, I can connect them with people who consult on various business and financial topics.
I'd say one area of accounting that is consistent across the various tracks is that we all end up spending a lot of time problem-solving. For me, a tax return is somewhat like a big puzzle. Everything needs to balance and be supported by underlying data. There are rules and adjustments you have to follow based on the tax law, and getting everything to work altogether is a large puzzle. Also, sometimes you get data from the client and you have to problem-solve to dig into the data and understand the underlying story of the data.
I think if you like numbers and puzzles, then accounting could be a great industry for you. Having to be good at math to be an accountant is a myth. We have calculators after all! But I do think that feeling comfortable with numbers is a huge aspect of a day in the life of an accountant.
Best of luck!