Accountant Job Description & Major Fields of Accounting

An accountant's job entails working to ensure that business firms and individuals are keeping good records and paying taxes properly and on time. Though the accountant job description for some accounting positions may be simple, other accountant job descriptions are not quite as clear because of the number of duties that are required.
In general, an accountant performs vital functions to businesses, as well as individuals, of all types by offering a very wide array of business and accounting services, including public, management and government accounting, as well as internal auditing. These four major fields of accounting, and in addition to having a minimum of a bachelor's degree, each has a separate accountant job description.

1. Public Accountant
A public accountant job description can be summed up in what most people envision as "typical" accountant's work. It involves performing a broad range of accounting, auditing, tax, and consulting activities for their clients, which may be corporations, governments, nonprofit organizations, and individuals. Specialties in public accounting are often chosen. For example, a public accountant may choose to concentrate on tax matters, such as advising companies about the tax advantages and disadvantages of certain business decisions and preparing individual income tax returns. Other public accountants may choose areas such as compensation or employee health care benefits, or may design accounting and data processing systems. Still other public accountants may choose to specialize in auditing financial statements and inform investors and authorities that statements have been correctly prepared and reported. Public accounts are usually Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), and generally own their own businesses or work for public accounting firms.
2. Management Accountant
Another accountant job description is that of a management accountant. Also called a cost, managerial, industrial, corporate, or private account, management accountants record and analyze the financial information of the companies for which they work. The management accountant job description includes a detailed listing of responsibilities, such as budgeting, performance evaluation, cost management, and asset management. Management accountants are often a part of executive teams involved in strategic planning or the development of new products, where they analyze and interpret financial information that corporate executives need in order to make sound business decisions. They also prepare financial reports for other groups, including stock holders, creditors, regulatory agencies, and tax authorities. Management accountants are usually a part of an accounting department, employed a large company, and may work in many areas that may include financial analysis, planning, budgeting, and cost accounting.
3. Government Accountant
A government accountant works in the public sector, maintaining and examining the records of government agencies and auditing private businesses and individuals whose activities are subject to government regulation and/or taxation. This accountant job description, while detailed, is much more specialized. Government accountants are employed by Federal, State, or local governments, and work to guarantee that revenues are received and expenditures are made in accordance with laws and regulations. Those employed by the Federal government may work as Internal Revenue Services agents or in financial management, financial institution examination, or budget analysis and administration.
4. Internal Auditor Accountant
The accountant job description of an internal auditor can basically be summarized by the job title. Internal auditors verify the accuracy of their organization's internal records, and check for mismanagement, waste, or fraud. It is an increasingly important area of accounting, because internal auditors examine and evaluate their firms' financial and information systems, management procedures, and internal controls to ensure that records are accurate and controls are adequate to protect against fraud and waste. They also review company operations, evaluating their efficiency, effectiveness, and compliance with corporate policies and procedures, laws, and government regulations. The accountant job description of an internal auditor can vary with different companies, and may include job duties such as electronic data processing, environmental auditing, engineering, legal auditing, insurance reviews, banking, and health care auditing.
Accountants in all four areas can work for a company, or can be employed by an accounting firm, which would in turn be hired by a company for consulting. An accountant can also be self-employed, and provide accounting services to individuals, businesses, or both.
Most accounting jobs include an accountant job description that requires a bachelor's degree, at minimum, in accounting or a related field, and some accountant job descriptions might include the requirement of a master's degree or Certified Public Account (CPA) certification, obtained through a four-part, Uniform CPA Explanation prepared by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). While the two-day CPA examination is rigorous, and only about 25 percent of those taking the exam pass every part they attempt, CPA certification can greatly assist in the rate of pay received, and in most states, the examination can be taken in two parts, which may assist in preparing for and passing the exam.
According to the United States Department of Labor, employment of accountants and auditors is expected to grow at a faster than average rate, for all accounting occupations from all accountant job descriptions mentioned, through the year 2014. This is due to an increase in the number of businesses nationwide, changing financial laws and regulations, and increased scrutiny of company finances. In addition to these reasons for new accounting jobs opening up, there will also be a need to replace accountants and auditors who will retire or transfer to other occupations.
The field is also becoming more specialized due to technology and new, accurate accounting and auditing software experience becoming a crucial addition to an accountant job description. An accountant job description may include, in addition to educational and technological requirements, strong interpersonal and communication skills, simply due to the fact that most accountants work on teams with others from different backgrounds, and will need the ability to communicate accounting and financial information clearly and concisely.
Regardless of one's qualifications, competition in the accounting field will remain strong for the most prestigious jobs, as well as for obtaining clients for those accountants that are self-employed.
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recording the flow of money through an agency, business or organization. The accountant also verifies the accuracy of all monetary and cash transactions and makes sure that all transactions are legal and are following current local, state and federal guidelines. The accountant may work directly for the company or business or may work privately and just be contracted or hired to complete books or tax returns for the agency. Some accountants may work directly for private individuals to help with tax returns, financial decisions, investments or other money related matters.
Accountants are formally trained and usually are chartered or certified accountants, enrolled or public accountants, or hold some other designation that indicates that they have met all training requirements as an accountant. Some accountants specialize in business or personal finance, tax preparation, estate planning or even investments or money markets. Accountants may use a variety of computer programs and different types of software to keep ledgers and to prepare the different types of forms and financial statements. Tax accountants may also be able to electronically file tax returns and to set up payment plans through customer accounts with the various taxation departments.
Accountants may work long hours especially during tax preparation time. They also may be required to participate in audits and other examinations of financial records. Corporate accountants may also be required to provide financial analysis and even risk analysis for large corporations to make future investment decisions. Those accountants that work in estate and investment planning must be current on market trends both for short and long term investment opportunities.
Common work activities include:
  • Entering data regarding taxes, sales, profits, bills payable and other transactions in a timely fashion.
  • Preparing and paying local, state or federal tax returns for large corporations or preparing and discussing tax returns for private individuals.
  • Balancing accounts on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
  • Preparing financial statements on either a regular schedule or when requested.
  • Ensuring all financial practices are legal and within guidelines as outline in federal or state laws.
  • Participating in budget and planning meeting with individuals or business to provide necessary information and recommendations for investments or financial opportunities.
Check out all of the online accounting degrees offered by a variety of schools offering programs online in accounting.

Accountant Job Description
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Apply principles of accounting to analyze financial information and prepare financial reports by compiling information, preparing profit and loss statements, and utilizing appropriate accounting control procedures.

  1. Prepare profit and loss statements and monthly closing and cost accounting reports.
  2. Compile and analyze financial information to prepare entries to accounts, such as general ledger accounts, and document business transactions.
  3. Establish, maintain, and coordinate the implementation of accounting and accounting control procedures.
  4. Analyze and review budgets and expenditures for local, state, federal, and private funding, contracts, and grants.
  5. Monitor and review accounting and related system reports for accuracy and completeness.
  6. Prepare and review budget, revenue, expense, payroll entries, invoices, and other accounting documents.
  7. Analyze revenue and expenditure trends and recommend appropriate budget levels, and ensure expenditure control.
  8. Explain billing invoices and accounting policies to staff, vendors and clients.
  9. Resolve accounting discrepancies.
  10. Recommend, develop and maintain financial data bases, computer software systems and manual filing systems.
  11. Supervise the input and handling of financial data and reports for the company's automated financial systems.
  12. Interact with internal and external auditors in completing audits.
  13. Other duties as assigned.
  1. Develop the annual operating budget and consult with departmental management on the fiscal aspects of program planning, salary recommendations, and other administrative actions.
  2. Provide accounting policy orientation for new staff.
Tax Accountant Job Description

Prepares federal, state, or local tax returns of individual, business establishment, or other organization: Examines accounts and records and computes taxes owed according to prescribed rates, laws, and regulations, using computer.
Advises management regarding effects of business activities on taxes, and on strategies for minimizing tax liability. Ensures that establishment complies with periodic tax payment, information reporting, and other taxing authority requirements. Represents principal before taxing bodies. May devise and install tax record systems. May specialize in various aspects of tax accounting, such as tax laws applied to particular industry, or in individual, fiduciary, or partnership income tax preparation
Tax Accountant Job Description
By Sheena Binkley, eHow Contributor
updated: December 1, 2009
I want to do this! What's This?
Tax accountants offer support to businesses or individuals by preparing their federal and state income taxes. In addition, they assure their clients and business associates that their taxes are properly calculated within federal and state laws. An individual interested in becoming a tax accountant must have a bachelor's degree in either accounting or finance, great organizational skills in obtaining information and preparing documents, and tax accounting experience in a public or business setting. Experience can be gained in numerous ways, such as obtaining a part-time job or an internship with a finance company.

Federal and State Income Tax Preparation

1.      Tax accountants prepare federal and state income tax returns for individuals, businesses and other organizations. Tax accountants usually research and determine specific payment amounts so the most accurate information is applied to the returns.

Tax Audit Preparation

2.      Tax accountants examine tax accounts and records and determine how much tax individuals or companies owe by researching federal laws, regulations and tax rates.

1099 Preparation

3.      Tax accountants are responsible for analyzing and arranging 1099 forms for multiple organizations as well as filing the forms with the IRS after they are completed.

Business Tax

4.      Tax accountants organize various taxes for businesses, including property taxes, sales taxes and business license taxes. Taxes are usually calculated and filed as well as arranged in statements to submit to businesses for payment.

Reporting Updates

5.      To provide an accurate financial outlook for a company, reports conducted daily, monthly and annually are issued to the Chief Financial Officer. They include annual tax projection reports, monthly management fee reports, sales tax reports and daily cash reports.

Tax Accountant
RESPONSIBILITIES: (prepared for CFO or Controller’s review)
*  Monthly financial reporting to lenders on a cash basis
*  Quarterly and annual financial reporting to lenders on an accrual basis
*  Annual tax preparation work papers
*  Filing of Domestic Stock Certificates and Statements of Information
*  Annual city business license tax calculation and payment
*  Prepare 1099 forms for vendors and file with the IRS
*  Prepare annual tax projection report to be reviewed by the CFO
*  Prepare monthly management fee report
*  Review monthly mortgage statements and update reserve account balances
*  Prepare daily cash report to be distributed to partners and CFO
*  Degree in Accounting or Finance. Minimum of 5 years experience in property management accounting. 

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