A Day in the Life of a Tax AccountantPublish Date: Apr 22, 2010
Some may say that accounting is not necessarily a glamorous job, but in truth it's typically more interesting and varied than many people realize. An accountant may spend much time going over financial records and entering or verifying data, but they are also something of problem solvers and analysts. A tax accountant especially may be called on to examine various scenarios that are meant to save a company money overall.
A day in the life of a tax accountant is not as mundane as some think. Consider a few things that may happen during any accountant's typical day.
A tax accountant may spend much of his or her day auditing the finances of any person or department.
Auditing is a big part of taxation and tax reporting. Without an audit, how does anyone know that taxes are paid correctly? Many companies today have auditors, not just that they hire from outside sources, but that they keep permanently, in-house. This is due in part to new legislation that has recently been passed that is meant to curb the stem of accounting fraud cases that have been so prevalent.
A tax accountant may spend much of his or her day auditing the finances of any person or department. This entails more than just checking and double-checking paperwork; it means asking persons questions regarding expenses and purchases and why they have reported items the way that they have. Very often auditing is like a form of problem solving; it's not just checking on what has been done but it means working with someone on understanding how the department or business operates.
There are many auditors that work for the government and that are employed to conduct these audits on corporations or individuals. They too may spend quite a bit of their time going over paperwork, receipts, and things such as these, but also need to interview those being audited. In some cases mistakes in their tax reporting actually leads to money being owed to them, not just to penalties for monies unpaid!
Another aspect of being a tax accountant may mean working on scenarios for someone that is looking to save money on their taxes or their business overall. They may ask the tax accountant to suggest deductions, shelters, and changes to the business that would lower their tax bill.
Coming up with these types of scenarios means having to figure many numbers overall; if you decrease headcount, for example, to save money does this mean you'll be paying more for everyone's benefits since you are currently getting a group rate? Is the cost of new equipment worth the tax deduction you would get?
Very often working through these various scenarios means writing up different reports and presenting those to the person that requested them. They will often want to see several different options for themselves before they make any changes to the business.
Working in a Team
It's not unusual these days for accountants to work in a team environment, and so much of their day may be spent with other team members on various projects. They may be assigned to audit or review certain aspects of tax forms or may be assigned certain aspects of a scenario to research and report. An entire team may be working on lowering a company's tax liability or auditing their quarterly reports.
While much of a tax accountant's day may be spent alone with paperwork and numbers, much of it may also be spent with other people during audits or their teamwork exercises. So while a day in the life of a tax accountant may not be glamorous, it can be rewarding and interesting as well!