Is a Career in Tax Accounting Services in Your Future?Publish Date: Sep 15, 2009
If you enjoy working with the public and are looking for a career in accounting, consider a career in tax accounting services. Tax accountants provide assistance not only in the preparation of the annual tax forms for individuals and businesses, but advising services in business and personal finance to ensure the best possible tax savings and advantages.
Accountants work towards the goal of opening their own accounting firm and tax services is one of the most popular fields for small businesses.
While many tax accountants who provide these services work for the large tax firms such as H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt, many tax accountants are self employed and offer tax services through a small business of their own. Employment through the better known tax firms can often be the basis of experience needed to begin self employment.
With nearly 10% of accountants and auditors being self-employed, accountants often use their post-graduate years in differing areas of accounting to find their preferred specialization. After gaining experience in that field, along with the certifications and designations that are useful, they then work towards the goal of opening their own accounting firm; and tax services is one of the most popular fields for accountants with small businesses.
Many tax accountants begin their careers directly at the source, that is, with the Internal Revenue Service. Employment with the IRS gives an accountant the knowledge and background that people prefer when they are choosing a tax accountant.
Certification and Designations
Accountants who will be offering personal tax advising services and tax preparation services should try to get as many initials after their name as they can. Plain and simple – customers are looking for reasons to trust you with their finances and taxes, and certifications make them feel more comfortable that you are competent and trustworthy enough to handle them.
Accountants in the tax services industry have several options for certifications, and should consider holding as many as possible within their specialization:
CPA: The CPA is the most popular designation not only for many accountants in the industry, but for those offering individual tax services as well. A Certified Public Accountant is the best known certification in the accounting industry, and it's a valuable credential that attests to an in-depth knowledge of accounting practices and principles.
EA: Another valuable designation in the tax preparation industry is EA, or Enrolled Agent. An Enrolled Agent is certified by the Internal Revenue Service and the designation is earned by those who have passed not only a background investigation, but a test administered by the IRS as well. The test is a two day exam called the Special Enrollment Examination and covers all aspects of the federal tax laws, IRS regulations, and tax audit procedures. Enrolled agents tend to specialize in complex tax situations.
The Accreditation Council for Accountancy and Taxation, an offshoot organization of the National Society of Accountants, offers four designations for tax accountants:
Candidates for the ABA designation must pass an exam; candidates for the other designations must complete required coursework and in some cases pass an exam.
For those considering a career that offers tax preparation and tax consulting services, it obviously helps to have a good aptitude for math and numbers, but the following skills are particularly helpful in this area:
Because a tax accountant handles the finances of others, strong personal and business ethics are necessary in this career.
If looking for a career that offers a variety of personal interaction and will offer the possibility of self-employment, consider a career as a personal or business tax accountant.
- Accredited Business Accountant (ABA)
- Accredited Tax Advisor (ATA)
- Accredited Tax Preparer (ATP)
Elder Care Specialist (ECS)
- People skills
- Communication skills
- Computer skills
- Reading comprehension skills