An accountant is a person that works with numbers related to an individual's or company's overall financial situation, tax obligations, net worth, and financial performance. They ensure that tax bills are paid on time, that public records are maintained properly, and that persons have the information needed to make decisions related to the financial health of their company or themselves individually.

Accountants typically handle a broad range of responsibilities, which include preparing tax returns, auditing returns and other reports, preparing reports on sales data, or offering projections on the performance of one's investments, the sales of one's product, and other areas as needed.

In government, an accountant may audit individuals or companies to ensure their compliance with local tax laws and the accuracy as well as the legality of their tax returns. A forensic accountant does this in a more detailed manner, specifically looking for illegal financial transactions or investments.