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One of my family’s favorite pastimes is playing the board game Monopoly. Each summer at the beach we all gather round a huge table and devote an afternoon to real estate and competition. I try to get Boardwalk but almost always end up bankrupt. Having an accountant on staff during our games would prevent that. An accountant would better help me assess and handle my financial situation, whether I’m playing Monopoly or running a big business..
Accountants are responsible for preparing and communicating financial information accurately for their clients or company. Sometimes they share the information within a business, and other times with other companies, government agencies, or individuals. Their primary duty is to analyze financial information and prepare financial reports to determine or maintain record of assets, liabilities, profit and loss, tax liability, or other financial activities.
There are a couple different types of accountants:
A CPA is licensed by the state of their residence to provide auditing services to the public, although most CPA firms also offer accounting, tax, litigation support, and other financial advisory services.
A CIA mostly provides their services directly to their employer rather than the public.
A CMA mostly provides their services directly to their employers rather than the public.
An ABA specializes in the needs of small-to-mid-size businesses and in financial services to individuals and families.
The typical day for an accountant is pretty long. Most offices require 50+ hour weeks year round and even longer days during busy seasons. Many accounting majors go into public accounting, specifically doing either audits or taxes. An auditor’s day generally starts early at the client’s office. Overall you’ll spend a lot of your time interacting with the client: asking for the papers you need, details and clarification on certain items. The rest of your time will be spent going through their accounting records, confirming balances and filling your audit papers.
On average a new accountant makes between $29,000-$62,000 per year. From there you can go on to become a Senior Accountant ($42,000-$76,000), a Staff Accountant ($31,000-$56,000) or an Accounting Manager ($36,000-$92,000).
Here are some hot spots for accountants:
A bachelor’s degree is generally required for accounting positions. Further education may be needed depending on the specific accounting job description. You’ll also need to have strong math skills and the ability to be personable with clients.
To become a Certified Public Accountant, accountants must obtain a CPA certification.
A CIA will receive a certificate from the Institute of Internal Auditor, after passing a 4 part exam.
A CMA is granted a certificate from the Institute of Management Accountants, after a 2 part exam, and meeting the practical experience requirement.
An ABA receives accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Accountancy and Taxation, once they have passed the 8 hour Comprehensive Examination for Accreditation.
If accounting still sounds like your cup of tea, here are a few things you should do to get started.
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