A registered accountant works for a public accounting firm that offers audit, payroll, advisory and accounting services to other businesses, organizations or individuals. Although job duties vary by specialty, such as tax accounting or forensic accounting, some typical tasks include ensuring accuracy of financial documents, managing budgets, and providing financial advice. For most positions, a bachelor's degree in accounting is required, whereas a master's degree in the field is preferred. Most practitioners continue to earn the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation.
Certified Public Accountants keep financial records and monitor them. They must also be able to read and interpret correctly the meaning of these financial records. Part of the accounting job description is to ensure that all state and federal laws are fully complied with. In many cases, even if this is not specified in the accounting job description, CPAs may be expected to provide professional financial advice to their company heads or individual clients. They also play an important role in the preparation of tax returns, and many CPAs find work in the tax season to prepare tax returns. CPAs operate in most cases on a full-time basis employed by a corporation, non-profit or government agency. Many CPAs, however, work for private clients on their own. Occasional travel may be necessary in the accounting job description.
While the accountant job description relays requirements for individual jobs, all CPAs share general characteristics. CPAs need to be very careful with detail. To order to remain legally compliant, prevent fraud or theft, and preserve correct financial information for their employer or customers, they must also recognize and use good accounting practices. For technological changes that are expected to only become more entrenched in the field, CPAs need to have good tech skills, particularly in major accounting software like QuickBooks. CPAs must meet all accountant certification requirements that their state requires in order to obtain their certification.
The BLS reported that in May 2018, accountants and auditors earned a mean salary of $78,820 per year. The majority of salaries fell between $43,650 and $122,840 the same year. Regardless of specialty, there must be strong mathematics and business finance skills for a public accountant, and they must be organized and thorough. Opportunities for jobs should be strong during the decade of 2018-2028, with job openings expected to grow faster than average.
If they file a report with the U.S., public accountants must be certified. Securities and Exchange Commission; audits of publicly traded American corporations are permitted only to those with the CPA designation. To become a Certified Public Accountant is to pass the Uniform CPA Examination, administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. While the examination remains the same across the country, individuals must meet a different set of requirements for each state; the most common prerequisites include a bachelor's degree and two years of experience, and keeping certification requires continuing education credits to be completed.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) forecasts employment growth to increase by 6 percent between 2018 and 2028 for all forms of accountants, including public accountants. Job prospects should be good for accountants; however, because of their additional training and experience, CPAs should have better job prospects than their non-certified counterparts.