From Financial Accounting, Auditing, Managerial Accounting and even bookkeeping, it’s multi-faceted and built not just on numbers but on skill as well.
The definition of an accountant:
Number jockeys, we think not! Accountants are anything but mathematicians armed with calculators and pocket protectors. Monitoring an entity or a company or an industry for that matter based on its financial performance is not easy, and the individuals working as accountants are becoming highly sought after individuals. It’s an industry filled with numbers and details, but it is also extremely fast-paced and lucrative!
Accountants are similar to doctors - they have a general qualification which allows them to practice but also have the option to specialise, hence you have various forms of accountancy.
Types of Accountants:
Financial Accountant: Is responsible for preparing financial documents of an organisation’s public profile (external), allowing relevant stakeholders and the like to have access to the financial performance of that company.
Chartered Accountant (CA): Is the title given to an individual who has undergone the various examinations that are accredited by a country’s designated professional Accounting body. Individuals read for a specialised accounting degree at university which has been accredited by the designated body.
Check out Wikipedia for various Chartered Accountant Institutes from around the world!
Certified Charted Accountant (CCA): Is an in-house program which is run by a The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). Individuals do not need to have a high school qualification but can enter into an ACCA program from the age of 16 (The Certified Accounting Technician Qualification) which feeds into the ACCA Qualification. Alternatively individuals can enter straight into the ACCA program with one of the following backgrounds:
1. A high school (Matric)qualification with Maths and English
2. A degree or qualification that is not accounting related
3. A relevant degree or qualification for an accredited institution.
Find out more about the ACCA.
Also check out ACCA Careers website for jobs and advice within the industry!
Certified Public Accountant (CPA): is the title of qualified accountants in the United States who have passed the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination.
Find out more about the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA).
Management/managerial Accountants: Are focused on the requirements of accounting information to help assist managers within an organisation to make more informed decisions towards improving a business within its management and core functions.
The Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA), formed by AICPA and CIMA. Is the global designation for management accountants.
Institutes that offer qualifications in Managerial Accounting:
Chartered Institute of Management Accountants
Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India
Institute of Management Accountants has a Certificate Management Accountant (CMA) qualification:
Auditing: Is the process of independently/objectively examining an entity or institution’s financial breakdown and flow, no matter its size, financial goals or legal structure. Auditing is performed or overseen (signed off) by a registered Auditor.
An Auditor: Is an accountant who has registered with a country’s relevant auditing authority and participates in public practice in the field of auditing. Check out CareersinAudit.com.
Find out more about registering authorities for the Auditing Profession:
Bookkeeping: No, not Bee Keeping, that’s a total different ball game! Book keeping is the recording or documenting of financial transactions that an individual or organisation participates in.
A Bookkeeper: Also known as an accounting clerk or accounting technician is responsible for an entity’s/individual’s bookkeeping entries and recordings.
Check out the Princeton Review which gives a great breakdown of a career as a Bookkeeper.
Other Accounting Sectors:
To find out more about the global accounting industry, have a look at the International Federation of Accountants.
Further Wikipedia has a list of accountancy bodies from around the world.
From a South African perspective also check out SAIPA, South African Institute of Professional Accountants.
Ernst & Young
Check out the following:
The Movie: The Untouchables, The book keeper has a small role in the movie but it was his set of financials that took down Al Capone. (FirstStep.me says: Interesting…).
Check out IMDB.com for more on the movie.
The YouTube Clip: Why choose a career in accounting? - awesome video by the Accounting Technician!
*Image Credit: iStockphoto.com