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What is an Accountant and How to Pick an Accountant

An accountant that has in-depth knowledge about business cash flow management, planning taxes and finances, and other aspects of business planning is a great asset to any business or company.

Accountants too can have specializations such as auditor, bookkeeper, or tax planner.

An accountantís scope of work varies with size of the company and the total number of transactions that go through the company during any period of time. It is the duty of the accountant to plan taxes, employee benefits, and retirement planning.

A college degree is the first qualification for an accountant. An accountant does not learn most of the practical aspects of accounting in college, but while doing internships in the field or practicing as an accountant.

An accountant is also certified by a professional agency as a capable, reliable accountant.

Family run businesses and multi-national corporations require the assistance of an accountant. There will be several accountants working for a single multi-national corporation.

If there is only one accountant in the company, like at a small-scale family run company, a single person will be responsible for managing the payroll, sales data, investment data, and assessing the financial situation of the company. The accountant is also responsible for crunching the numbers and keeping ledgers up to the minute.

An accountant also reports to management on the financial situation of the company in simple terms and keeps them informed about the position and pace of the company.

An accountant also works closely with investors and tax authorities, and helps them make accurate financial decisions.

An accountant may also serve different companies at the same time, as a certified public accountant. In such cases, the accountant will be highly specialized in one particular area of accounting like auditing or taxes. The responsibility will be higher for these accountants and they must keep themselves updated with all of the changes in their field.

The responsibilities of an accountant can be broadly classified into auditing, forensic accounting (checking for irregularities in finance management such as fraud or tax evasion), bookkeeping, management accounting (helping managers make financial decisions based on the existing financial situation of the company), investment advice, and tax planning. Sometimes accountants even give advice to start-up businesses.

Accountants are affiliated to their professional organizations. Certified public accountants are certified by the authorities and are qualified for handling business accounting for small to medium scale businesses.

While planning to get the assistance of an accountant, it is managementís responsibility to ensure the credentials of the accountant in the form of certifications and professional affiliations.

The main certifications for accountants include Certified Public Accountants (CPA), Certified Internal Auditors (CIA), Certified Management Accountants (CMA), and Accredited Business Accountants (ABA). Certified accountants also may have several non-certified accountants working as their assistants.

An accountant makes his way not only with the qualifications, but with sheer determination to learn every aspect of accounting and finances. They have also established themselves as reliable team players, even while they are still in college.

It is great for any company to get the assistance of an accountant who is knowledgeable about accounting and is a great team player.

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