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Accountant Job Description & Roles and Responsibilities

Accountant Job Description & Roles and Responsibilities

Edited By Team Careers360 | Updated on Apr 09, 2024 06:17 PM IST

Who is an Accountant?

An accountant is a person who works for individuals or organisations to handle their accounting activities. For ease of accounting, businesses hire an accountant who can track the records of the transactions by using various software. He or she prepares and analyses financial statements such as the balance sheet, profit and loss account, and cash flow statement to interpret financial results.

Accountant Job Description

In accounting firms, an accountant is tasked with data entry, bookkeeping, and the financial transactions of the business on a daily basis. An accountant's job description is to ensure transparency and effectiveness in financial records. He or she is involved in preparing and understanding financial statements such as the balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement and sharing analysis with the business and its stakeholders.

An accountant's work is not just recording transactions but also interpreting the financial condition of a business and suggesting what could be done to improve the financial condition. One of the most important responsibilities of an accountant is to keep himself or herself updated with accounting standards and laws.

What are the roles and responsibilities of an accountant?

An accountant's role and responsibilities revolve around the entire accounting task. Recording transactions, analysing financial reports, facilitating communication, ensuring compliance with tax regulations, and giving guidance and advice are some of the important duties of an accountant, which are discussed below.

Maintain Accurate Financial Records: A business deals in a lot of financial transactions on a daily basis, so it is important for them to keep accurate records. Here, accountants are responsible for recording financial transactions while maintaining accuracy and transparency. They need to follow accounting principles and standards like GAAP and IFRS.

Prepare Financial Statements: Each business is working to generate revenue and profitability. Accountants are individuals who help businesses know their financial health by preparing financial statements such as balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements. These reports not only help the business itself but also matter the most to business stakeholders.

Analyse Financial Data: An accountant needs to analyse the financial statements carefully to help the company make decisions related to the financial aspects. Accountants assist with these decisions by analysing financial reports. Accountants not only analyse financial statements, but their analysis goes beyond this, like cost analysis, variance analysis, budgeting, and forecasting.

Ensure Compliance with Tax Regulations: Accountants make sure compliance is maintained as per accounting standards and government regulations. It is important to stay informed about tax regulations like tax filing, tax planning, tax deductions, and tax credits. They also ensure compliance is maintained as per accounting principles and standards governed by bodies like GAAP and IFRS.

Provide Financial Guidance and Advice: Accountants use their financial expertise to advise clients or management on crucial financial decisions. They play a vital role in developing financial models, managing risks, and communicating complex financial information effectively. Also accountants build strong relationships with key stakeholders across the organisation to better understand their financial needs and concerns.

Also, check - How to Become an Accountant

Career Path Progression For an Accountant

Aspiring accountants can begin their journey by learning the fundamentals as staff accountants. As they gain experience, they can progress to senior roles, managing teams and finances. Specialisation as a financial analyst can follow, allowing them to guide business decisions. Ultimately, the path leads to overseeing a company's financial health as a controller or CFO.

Entry-Level Positions (1-3 years)

Staff Accountant/Junior Accountant: An accountant starts his or her career with a staff accountant or junior accountant position, which is an entry-level position. He or she learns and practices all the accounting tasks with the help of senior accountants. Accounting tasks like transaction recording, bookkeeping, and helping in the preparation of financial reports are some of the tasks performed by junior accountants.

Accountant I/II: Once junior accountants gain experience, they may be promoted to a higher-level staff accountant position. In this role, they will take on more responsibility for performing accounting tasks, such as supervising junior staff, preparing financial statements, and helping with other accounting activities.

Mid-Level Positions (3-7 years)

Senior Accountant: Senior accountants train junior accountants in their accounting journey and overseas their accounting practices. They are responsible for performing complex accounting tasks like financial analysis, preparing financial statements, managing audits, developing budgets, and ensuring compliance with accounting standards and regulations. They play a vital role in ensuring internal control.

Financial Analyst: Many accountants take up positions as financial analysts with experience. Financial analysts are the ones who help businesses to help in taking informed decisions. They use financial data to know the financial conditions of a business and give recommendations about investments and other financial decisions.

Upper-Level Positions (7+ years)

Corporate Controller: An accountant is not just restricted to senior-level positions in accounting. One can achieve a higher position in accounting, such as as a corporate controller. A controller checks the whole accounting department and ensures the accuracy of accounting tasks within the department. He or she may also be involved in making accounting policies and implementing them.

Chief Financial Officer (CFO): The CFO is the highest-ranking accounting position, which an accountant can take up with experience and expertise. A CFO is responsible for all aspects of the company's finances, including financial reporting, planning, financial reporting, budgeting, and forecasting. He or she typically ensures the overall health and compliance of the company.

What are the qualifications required to become an Accountant?

An individual must enrol into a formal education or training program to become an Accountant. He or she requires to complete 10+2 in any of the streams from a recognised board. He or she needs to pursue a bachelor's degree in commerce, accounting, or a related field. After finishing bachelor’s degree one can either opt for an entry-level job position or can opt for a master’s course to get higher-level job positions.

Bachelor’s Degree Programmes

Master’s Degree Programmes

Professional Certifications

Today, competition has increased very much to get a job. To stand out in the job market, a bachelor's degree might not be enough to become a good accountant. One can pursue professional certifications in Chartered Accountancy (CA) or Cost and Management Accountants (CMA). These certifications are popular and prestigious.

Chartered Accountant (CA): This program is very popular among students because of its high value and earning potential. This program is conducted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), and the exam is highly competitive.

Cost and Management Accountant (CMA): It is also a popular exam after CA, and it is offered by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA). It is also competitive and includes practical training.

What are the skills required to become an Accountant?

Every company deals with financial transactions; to record and maintain transparency, one is required to be equipped with both soft and hard skills to become an accountant. Here is the list of important skills required.

Soft Skills

  • Organisation and Attention to Detail
  • Problem-Solving and Critical Thinking
  • Communication Skills (Written and Verbal)
  • Business Knowledge
  • Time Management
  • Technology Expertise

Technical Skills

  • Data Entry
  • QuickBooks
  • CRM
  • SAP
  • Project Management
  • MS Office

What are the top recruiters for an Accountant?

Accountants play crucial roles in managing company finances, maintaining record of transactions, preparing financial statements and interpreting financial information to business and its stakeholders. These all accounting activities are very crucial for any business hence every company needs an accountant. Here is the list of top recruiters for accountants.

  1. Accenture
  2. Genpact
  3. Tata Consultancy Services
  4. Infosys BPM
  5. Deloitte
  6. Oracle
  7. Capgemini
  8. EY
  9. DXC Technology
  10. KPMG

Salary of an Accountant in Top Companies

Every business requires an accountant to manage finance, record important financial transactions, prepare financial statements and interpret results that ultimately help businesses to make informed decisions. Hence, the job of an accountant is very promising and also the earning potential is quite impressive. Salaries of an accountant in top companies are given below.

CompanyAverage Annual Salary

Infosys BPM

Rs. 4.1 Lakhs

Genpact

Rs. 4.2 Lakhs

Accenture

Rs. 4.1 Lakhs

TCS

Rs. 4.9 Lakhs

Tata Motors

Rs. 2.8 Lakhs

Source: AmbitionBox

“The salary figures mentioned anywhere in the article are just for reference purposes. Please treat them as such. Actual salaries may vary depending on respective candidates, employer, job location and numerous other factors.”

In conclusion, accountants are the financial backbone of a business, ensuring accuracy and interpreting financial health. From staff accountant to CFO, career paths offer a variety of opportunities to those with a passion for numbers and accounting.

Also check - Online Accountancy Courses & Certifications

Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)

1. Is CA and accountant the same?

A chartered accountant is associated with a professional body and highly qualified who is responsible for vast accounting services and business advice. On the other hand, to function as an accountant one need not to obtain a professional degree and  handle basic accounting activities in business firms like auditing and taxation.

2. Can I become an accountant without CA?

It is not mandatory to become a CA to function as an accountant. An individual with the right skills, training and experience can work as an accountant.

3. Which degree is best for an accountant?

A bachelor's degree in commerce, accounting, or a related field is required for an accountant. After finishing a bachelor's degree one can opt for an entry-level job position.

4. Who earns more CA or accountant?

Usually CAs earn more than accountants as they are associated with a professional body and are highly valued in the accounting job market. Average salary of accountants ranges from Rs. 8 Lakhs to 12 Lakhs per annum, it can go up to Rs. 30 Lakhs or even more with experience.  

5. Which course is better than CA?

CA is a better course itself but Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) is a global recognition in accounting and rated above CA.

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