Accountants are people who take financial information and turn it into information that investors can understand. Accountants are in charge of gathering, maintaining, tracking and analyzing financial data from various sources to provide information to individuals and companies about their financial health. In other words, accountants provide information on the financial health of a company. Accountants use different techniques and tools to arrive at their data analysis. Accountants have to follow rules and regulations set by the government in order to be legitimate accountants. In addition, accountants need to work closely with lawyers, financial planners, tax experts and accountants who have earned a thorough knowledge of the different accounting principles and techniques.
Basically, an accountant is a professional person responsible for the preparation and interpretation of financial records. The responsibilities of accountants depend on the nature of work they perform. Generally, an accountant has to prepare reports in respect of the financial health of a company and make recommendations about changes in accounting practices if necessary.
Generally, accountants are divided into two categories Certified Public Accountants (CPA) and Certified Financial Accountants (CFA). A CPA is required to obtain an examination from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants or the American Society of Certified Public Accountants before becoming eligible to practice. Candidates aspiring to become CPAs need to pass examinations based on a set of written examinations and interviews. Candidates aspiring to become CFAs need to pass examinations based on a set of written exams as well as interviews. Generally, these two professionals are connected to one another and they conduct audits, obtain information and make recommendations to management regarding the financial health of a company.
Certified public accountants or CPAs are required to get a three-year degree in accounting and a four-year degree in public accountancy from accredited colleges or universities. They also need to pass CPA’s exam that is based on written reports and analysis of financial data. These professionals need to have sound knowledge of banking laws, managerial law, public accounting principles and government taxation. Aspiring career public accountants should consider taking subjects like mathematics, statistics, data processing, accounting, communication skills and financial information systems.
CPAs have many opportunities that include being a Certified Public Accountant or CPA, a Certified Fraud Examiner or CFRO, a Chartered Financial Analyst or CFA, a Chartered Property Appraiser or CMA and a Tax Practitioner. All these careers require having extensive knowledge of taxation, business law, corporate laws and ethics. There are also certification courses such as the Certified Management Accountant (CMA), Certified Public Accountant (CPA), and Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) offered by professional accounting organizations. CPA is more popular than CFA as it requires passing examinations, which makes it easier for CPAs to enter the profession. On the other hand, Certified Financial Accountant requires a four-year college degree.
If you want to become an accountant, the best option for you is to get a four-year college degree, get a valuable internship and work towards a CPA license or CFA. After that, you can go to work as an accountant in various financial documents preparation firms. Your career as an accountant will be greatly helped by taking relevant laws, business laws, and financial documents and education courses.