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What's it like being an accountant?

#financial-accounting

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Oliver’s Answer

Jessica,

It depends on what type of accountant you are! Some are bookkeepers who write journal entries to maintain the ledgers for business, some are auditors who provide 3rd party assurance that a businesses financial statements are presented fairly, and some are tax accountants who prepare tax returns for individuals or entities!

I can only give my experience, which is in Big-4 Audit. The learning curve is immense; expect to feel perpetually confused for the first few months. However, because of this constant battle to understand what is going on, the professional growth and development is immense. It can be incredibly frustrating for a lot of the time, but they'll be sparks of "Oh, I got that right" or "Oh, I understand this"! In the beginning, it is a TON of communication with people that know more than you. You learn how to raise your hand and ask questions, because that is the only way to learn. You will be spending a lot of time looking at spreadsheets and PDF's, and other forms of audit documentation and evidence.

Once you start to gain your footing, it becomes all about time management. You will have to manage up, down, and across with people above, below, and in different areas than you. In any given 30 minutes, you could be on a video call with a client, then asking your manager about something that didn't make sense in the video, then explaining a totally unrelated task to an intern or associate who is trying to learn from you! Fast paced, long hours, and big growth is the name of the game in public accounting.
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much, Oliver! Rihanna
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David’s Answer

Well, you work with numbers a lot and sometimes you have to work under pressure to meet deadlines like book close and year-end. A lot of times you are working by yourself but you need to work with others as well. It helps to have good communication skills. Sometimes it can get kind of boring if you are doing the same things every month. If you can work independently and are good with numbers this might be a good profession for you. It helps to get an accounting degree and even become a CPA by passing the test. You can make really good money in this profession because not everybody can do it.
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Caroline’s Answer

I work as an auditor for Asset Management companies. I've worked on a variety of teams both small and large. I like that in my job I've developed relationships both internally with partners and staff on my engagement teams as well as with clients. The typical day for an accountant varies throughout the year. In the summertime we focus on planning and getting ready for the year end audits. This could entail asking the client questions to see if any of their business processes have changed since the prior year, going through independence checks to ensure the firm and engagement members are independent of the client, and planning what our audit approach will be for the upcoming year. The audit approach depends on the level of risk each particular FSLI may have. Then in the fall we typically work on interim testing - that is where we can test certain numbers that have occurred during the year are not year finalized because the year end has not happened. This is a great way to phase out testing so that you do not do all of your testing at year end. Then once the books have closed (typically on December 31st) we will perform the remaining testing areas for the audit. This includes managing requests that are sent to the client such as asking for a sample of items that we can test to help get ourselves comfortable over the completeness and accuracy of the FSLIs. During year end testing we will receive the financial statements and provide any comments to the client that we would like them to update. At the close of the audit we will issue the opinion and celebrate a job well done.
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Gregory’s Answer

I agree with what everyone has said and would like to add just a few thoughts. Accounting can lead you to many career paths. Like we've seen mentioned on this thread, some accountants are auditors, staff accountants for companies, controllers, CFOs, and much more. I'd like to add that I am going into Tax accounting. Depending on what you do, this can mean a variety of things. Many CPAs (Certified Public Accountants) fill out tax forms for companies and individuals. If you want to be more specialized in specific areas of tax, your role can be more along the consulting side. Many accounting professionals work at firms, which essentially means you will be providing services to clients (filling out the tax forms, tax consulting). In summary, one of the main reasons I chose accounting is because of the options. You can be so many things by being an accountant. If you want to learn more about what people in public accounting (working for a firm) do, try searching PwC, KPMG, Deloitte, and EY (these four firms are known as the Big4 since they are the four largest accounting firms). Or, if you want to learn more about what people do who work with a company, try looking up staff accountant and controller. While there are many more options to choose from, I hope i've outlined some information that can help you in making your decisions! I wish you the best of luck.
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Zufan’s Answer

Accountant role is to keep the record of company assets and liabilities. The numbers have to be supported with evidence such as original receipts and expense records. It is used by investors and for analysis on the health of the company so as an accountant the key responsibility is to ensure the numbers in the financial records of the company is accurate and supported with evidence.

Accounting background can help you land different type of jobs such as Auditing, Financial Analyst and many more. If you get your certification you can be more valuable and get more opportunities. Good luck.
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Sarada’s Answer

Passion for numbers
By the name accountant itself comes with the accountability , an accountant is accountable for all the numbers in the books of accounts and hence utmost importance and prudence to be there while book keeping.

Playing with numbers is the most interesting role, managing cash assets liabilities and others gives the power and authority as the business solely relies on you for thier financial performance.

Intergrity is one of the important characteristics other than talent and qualifications

Good luck. Go for it!
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