Tax Accounting Schools
Tax rules, regulations, and laws can be quite complicated. The different levels of government (city, county, state, federal, and foreign governments) have their own tax rules and even the same tax body can change their regulations from year to year.
Working for a specific company or independently for a variety of individual or business clients, a tax accountant helps both people and businesses navigate through the many tax rules and regulations and meet their diverse financial obligations. A tax accountant may prepare individual tax returns, estimate a company's tax burden, calculate capitalization periods, or advise a client on what is a reasonable business expense to deduct.
In the United States, tax accountants must be intimately familiar with the Internal Revenue Service, including the permitted types of tax accounting methods, IRS rules and deadlines, and the various IRS tax publications that clients will require.
Many tax accountants' busiest months are January through April in the big lead up to April 15.
A Day in the Life of a Certified Public Accountant
Are you thinking about becoming a certified public accountant or CPA? Chances are not many children dreamt about this career when they were growing up, but many adults appreciate the job security, salary potential, and overall responsibilities of a CPA. And when you begin to really learn about what it means to be a CPA, you may understand even more the potential that such a career offers.
Take a moment to consider a typical day in the life of a CPA and see if you don't agree that the career can be interesting, rewarding, and lucrative.
Journals, Ledgers, and "the Books"
Obviously one duty of a CPA would be to handle the financial aspects of a company or business. They may reconcile all expenses and payments issued. They also keep paperwork organized so that returns can be prepared in a timely fashion during tax season.
Often a company needs to report taxes on a quarterly basis rather than just at year-end, so these journals and ledgers as well as the financial books need to be maintained so that these reports are prepared accurately and in a timely fashion.
Rarely does a CPA just go over the books of a company and prepare its taxes. Financial information is used by company owners and managers in a number of ways in order to make various decisions. A CPA may assist with these reports when it comes to preparing them and in interpreting them for these decisions.
As an example, profit and loss statements are typically prepared by a CPA for shareholders and business managers. These P&L statements may show that expenses must be cut as profit margins are down, and a detailed statement may be the first key to understanding where and how those expenses are becoming burdensome.
While a CPA may spend much of his or her day going over financial documents and "crunching numbers," they also spend quite a bit of time going over the end results of that number crunching in order to explain those results to others. Often managers and business owners will ask for recommendations from CPAs, and they may also ask them to prepare potential scenarios when it comes to cost savings in certain areas.
Very often a CPA is called on to perform audits for a company; some have full-time auditors on staff and others hire auditors for a particular job. Auditing often involves reconciling financial journals as well as checking expense reports, deductions, and things such as these.
An auditor is often meant to follow the work of another CPA or bookkeeper; they are being used more often today than ever before since there is new legislation in place meant to fight financial fraud.
Conducting an audit is about much more than reviewing financial paperwork. The auditor often needs to get additional information from those being audited, and these audits are also used the same way that financial reports are being used. A business owner or manager may take the information from an audit and use it to make decisions regarding processes that need to be changed, expenses that need to be cut, and so on.
A CPA may therefore spend quite a bit of time in meetings with others, going over their findings, and explaining their results. Business owners and managers often ask a CPA for their advice on different potential scenarios in order to improve the company's finances, so a CPA needs to always be thinking ahead as to how they can assist in this fashion. So a typical day for a CPA is usually anything but typical, and rarely involves just going over paperwork and preparing tax documents.