A Day in the Life of an Accountant

Have you ever thought of accounting as being an exciting career path? Most likely not; many assume that accountants do nothing more than add numbers all day, checking and double-checking those numbers on tax returns and other financial documents.

In truth, accounting is actually more rewarding and more interesting than most people realize. While a good portion of the job means checking numbers and data, it also means preparing reports, working with a team to achieve certain objectives, and giving recommendations as to new processes.

Rarely does an accountant simply prepare and check paperwork and statements within a company.

Consider what it may be like to be an accountant today.

Typical Responsibilities

Accountants deal with the books, journals, and ledgers of a company. They may reconcile the accounts of a company, enter information into journals, and review documents such as expense reports and receipts.

Typically accountants will prepare the necessary documentation as required by state and federal governments or shareholders of a company. They may prepare or review profit and loss statements or tax filings, or may handle payroll in much larger companies.

Every company has different needs when it comes to reporting and procedures; often there are monthly operating statements prepared for different departments for various reasons within any company.

While preparing tax returns and statements are a common responsibility of accountants, this is not their only responsibility. Also, preparing tax statements is a job that an accountant works at all year; most companies have processes in place so that tax paperwork is maintained properly throughout the year so that accountants and others are not "scrambling" to find receipts, copies of bank account records, and so on during tax time.

Additional Responsibilities

Rarely does an accountant simply prepare and check paperwork and statements within a company. The findings of an accountant are vitally important to the business decisions made by that company and by department heads. It is not unusual for an accountant's day to also be filled with reports, presentations, and with making recommendations or answering questions about possible new processes or improvements to current processes.

One obvious example of how this might work is an accounting report regarding inventory levels. A particular product's inventory may remain unchanged for some time, or may lag behind other products when it comes to sales. An accountant may also prepare a report on the overall cost of producing, storing and shipping that item versus the profit it produces. A business owner or manager may then be able to make a decision as to whether or not that product should be maintained or discontinued.

Accountants are also typically familiar with current tax laws so that they may prepare reports and make recommendations that would help a company with their typical tax bill. There may be property that a company is maintaining that has become a tax liability, or tax grants and tax breaks that a company is eligible for but is neglecting. Typically an accountant would prepare a report as to the cost and benefit of various new processes or procedures and then managers and owners make decisions based upon those reports.

Very often an accountant will work in a team environment for these types of responsibilities; one manager may assign different responsibilities and tasks to all the accountants on that team. This means that an accountant needs to have a spirit of cooperation and strong communication skills. While the majority of their day may be spent with their paperwork to support the above projects and responsibilities, most accountants also work very closely with other members of the team and others in the company to make those recommendations and present those reports.