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Do accountants just crunch numbers all day?

I'm asking because I'm genuinely curious and I'm pretty good with #math and numbers. #accounting


Most of the time yes Rian V.

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Shane’s Answer

Hey Cassidy! That is definitely the stereotype that accountants have, and a portion of it is true. Think of it this way, if a client says they have $100 in sitting in the bank and also own an investment they say is worth $500, and they are creating financial statements that people are going to read that lists that, we as accountants want to be sure that those numbers are not materially misstated. So, our job becomes, how can we prove that? Figuring out if a client has $100 in their bank is pretty straight forward; we can send a confirmation to the bank, ask them to respond, and that's that. Confirming an investment might be a little trickier; if it's a publicly traded stock like Apple, then we know the trading price. But if it's a private investment, we have to do other procedures. This is where accountants have to be a little creative, and think of how they can get evidence to support that $500. Additionally (and this can vary depending on what type of accounting you go into) you tend to go out to talk to clients a lot. This involves dinners, casual chit chat, and of course, talking about the financials, but good people skills are crucial as well. Hopefully this helps!

#accounting

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Kevin’s Answer

You already have some answers but let me give you my take. There are some accounts who just do that. There are some (like me) who hate doing that :). My favorite part of accounting is managing teams and maintaining relationships. Accounting is so broad that you can pick a path that best fits you.

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Samantha’s Answer

Hi Cassidy! While that may be the stereotype, in my experience, accountants do not just crunch numbers all day. While it is important to be mathematical and analytical, depending on the type of accounting job that you have, accountants wear a variety of different hats. For example, in my job in the capital markets accounting advisory group, I perform a ton of research, based on an accounting issue that a client might have. In addition to working the numbers, we will do research, have phone calls with the client, and write up whitepapers to document our conclusions. In that way, not only do I "crunch numbers", but I utilize my analytical, writing, and communication skills on a daily basis. Hope this helps!

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Chris’s Answer

The term accountants can mean so many different types of jobs. You may be in the back room crunching numbers or you may be doing something very far from that aspect of the job. To speak on my experience as an auditor in accounting firm, there is definitely less of number crunching than you would imagine. Lots of the work are validations and drafting documentations. It is very much like writing a paper for the class where you need to back up all the facts and circumstances of your finding. In fact, your qualitative reasoning skills and writing skills are tremendously helpful in the field of audit.

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Jessica’s Answer

Hi Cassidy, I questioned what accountants did when I was in high school as well. I thought most accountants did taxes, and while some of them do, there are a lot of other categories that fall into the realm of accounting like auditing, advisory, consulting, etc. For example, I am an auditor, so I look at company's financial statements and make sure the numbers included on them are presented materially correct, and like some of the other responses already, there is a lot of writing and documenting that we have to do as well.


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Mikayla’s Answer

Hi Cassidy,

It's a common misconception that accounting involves a lot of math. As I described accounting to freshmen when I used to tutor, it's more like learning a new language than it is math. Accounting classes more so involve understanding what causes something to be classified a certain way. Most math accountants typically do is very basic (add, subtract, divide, multiply - that's pretty much it) and excel does all the work there.


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Erin’s Answer

My opinion is definitely no. There are a lot of different paths you can take in accounting and finance, and they involve a lot more than crunching numbers. Finance is the backbone of a company - everything eventually comes down to the numbers and the budget, so having experience in Finance & Accounting is always going to be valuable. There are numerous career options, even within one large company, where you can hold various positions.

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Steven’s Answer

Hi Cassidy,

The perfect right answer to going to be highly dependent on what kind of accounting your getting into as some areas are going to be more involved than others. Broadly though, I would not classify accounting as in the math field at all, it's more about the classification of transactions than it is about math. There will be some calculations depending on what your working on, but that is not typically where the accountant can add value. Accountants should be able to analyze those classifications in the form of a financial statement and make thoughtful opinions on what they mean to stakeholders. Against popular opinion, accounting is not just about math and often times involved very little.

Good luck!

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Alexandra’s Answer

Hi

I think there is much more to it than number crunching...and you will have excel for that anyway.
An important element of the role is networking. You need to interact with every department and they may need your help on a number of subjects.

The numbers can also help for decision making and analysis. If your processes are managed well, you can spend quite a bit of time in looking for what the numbers mean and how you can help the business find the right strategy. This is particularly true of management accounting.

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