Accounting refers to the art of producing and maintaining financial information of a company in a form of financial statement. Accountancy involves studying how the society, individuals, and cooperation’s affect the operation and validation of systems in accounting. An accountant plays a major role in recording, analyzing, collecting, and organizing the business operation of an organization, according to the size of the organization the duties of the accountant may vary. There are various aspects that characterize an accountant it includes salaries, duties, job outlook, working hours, educational level, personal traits, as well as working hours.
Accounting is the art of producing financial information about a particular organization to other people outside the organization; information given is in the form of financial statements. Accounting provides information about the resources under the management of the organization. Accounting is one of the oldest practices dating back to the Mesopotamian period, during this time there were ancient methods of recording the crop yield and the number of herds. However, these methods improved to suit the businesses that were also improving.
Accountancy involves studying how the society, individuals, and cooperation’s affect the operation and validation of systems in accounting. Accountancy started long time ago about 1400 AD with simple terms as debit and credit, which are still relevant in today’s accounting. As years progressed and industrial revolution took the center stage of activities the need for better ways to manage financial data increased, this helped in transforming accounting into a career (Thukaram, 2003). In the late 1800 AD some accountants joined to create an examining body called the American association of public accountants this later transformed to certified public accountants (CPA) later the Securities and Exchange Commission was created where the public companies could file their accounting report to be reviewed by the members of the SEC commission. The financial accounting standards board was later formed which would cater for a variety of services as financial consultation and auditing.
In this field of accounting paradox of thrift occurs in that as more scandals occur, job opportunities increase for the accountants due to the demand for more public and private accountants whose work involve analyzing the financial data.
Duties of an accountant
An accountant plays a major role in recording, analyzing, collecting, and organizing the business operation of an organization, according to the size of the organization the duties of the accountant may vary. In a small scale operation the duties include; collecting and feeding the financial data and making a financial report, in middle sized company duties include.
An accountant manages the financial data of a given organization, ensuring that the data is kept in accordance to the set policies and standards of the given organization level; the accountant also monitors the control procedures of a financial data base.
Other major function of an accountant is to analyze the financial data and interpret it. This helps in advising the organization before making business decisions such as financial expenditure, financial commitments, payments of pay rolls, payments of bills and future revenue expectation (Thukaram, 2003). Accountant prepares the financial report either; monthly, quarterly or annual report depending on the type of organization.
An accountant is also responsible in ensuring that the reports are compliant with time. An accountant should make sure that the financial reports are prepared and finished before the deadline, the accountant works with other affiliates as; government accountants, external auditors, tax service professionals and public accountants by providing the financial data.
Educational level required
To qualify to be an accountant one should have a bachelor’s degree in accounting; one should be a member of a given professional body. Having additional certificate as certified public accountant is an added advantage. A master’s degree may be of great value. Work experience of 3-4 years is an added advantage.
Personal traits of an accountant
First an accountant should be honest and trustworthy, since the duties of an accountant include having an access to the organizational accounts and the petty cash. The accountant should be honest in keeping the confidential reports. The accountant should also be well-organized person, this will enable one to keep time and be able to meet deadlines and work well in highly structured and complex organizations (Pixley, 2010).
An accountant should be creative, able to come up with new ideas in-line with solving the challenges relating to financial difficulties. Being detail oriented is a skill that an accountant should possess in order to analyze for errors that can have big impact in the future. Professional skills and expertise are important to an accountant; this includes being computer literate and having adverse knowledge on spreadsheets will help an accountant to work well. Leadership skill is necessary as an accountant; this will help an accountant to lead teams or ensuring that the company policies are enforced (Causey, 2001). One should possess entrepreneurial skills; this is an added advantage in order to advice on the economic methods that can be applied to boost the company or the organization. As an accountant one should possess good communication skills, this enables the accountant to discuss and interpret the financial report to the other parties. The accountant should also be self-confident and committed to the stipulated work.
Work setting of an accountant.
The work setting of an accountant is in an office setting, which is time sensitive, Accountant’s work should be processed fast, and their complexity changes with time. Teamwork is necessary In order to complete the work well in time, also accounting include complex subjects hence working as a team would help to achieve the target goal of completing the project. Therefore, to be an accountant one should exhibit good teamwork skills.
The working hours of an accountant is flexible depending on the season, normally the working hours is 40 per week, during the busy season this may increase to 50-70 hours per week. The working hours also vary according to the type of organization; private firm, public accounting, or government organizations (Causey, 2001). These working hours are spread in that one should work 8 hours in a day for five days in a week with a lunch break of an hour. In every year, one is given two leaves.
The average salary of an accountant in the United States of America is $59,000. Depending on the type of accountancy and the type of firm on is employed in the salaries vary; forensic accountant earns 76,000, fixed accountant earns 55,000 while accountant book keeper earns 39,000 also a student accountant will earn between $35000-$45000. Other allowances that may be included are travel allowance, medical and house allowance. Other benefits that may accrue include overtime allowances when in a busy month (Pixley, 2010).
Short-term benefits of employees include getting vocational leave, having sick leaves, also housing allowances, and medical allowances. The employees should also be in a position to get benefits as sick leave allowances.
Though the employment rate is expected to increase in the long term basis, the employers are seeking to employ people who are skilled that is from other related fields other than fresh graduates who don’t have the necessary expertise in the field, therefore one should find for contracts, projects or attachments in order to refresh the skills. This will also sharpen the skills and expose one to challenges and the changing dynamics in the accounting sector.
The strict laws and the change of the lending standards by the government will increase employment opportunities in the public accounting as many firms will be formed during the process, this firms will work to ensure that the laws are followed to the later hence accountants should seek to search for jobs in companies that are related to public accounting. There is an increase in financial crisis, financial scandals in organizations and increase in businesses globally; this increase is expected to increase the demand for accountants to cater for the challenges in the finance sector (Pixley, 2010). Therefore, the employment rate for the accountants will be 16 percent in between the period of 2010 and 2020.
Accountants play a big role in the management of financial data and providing an account of the finances that a particular company hold. It is therefore imperative that being an accountant one should conduct him/her in a manner that is in accordance to the policies and laws of the accounting bodies. Also being an accountant one ought to make sure that the projects and budgets are running well in an organization, to perform this duties efficiently one must acquire the necessary skills other than the bachelor’s degree. Owing to the intricacy of work and the numerous risks involved while working as an accountant, it is important that they s be paid well. Also, accountants should have good and conducive working environment in order to perform their duties well.