Career Opportunities in Accounting
Hey guys thought I should write some employment opportunities for accountants because most people think that it is the big 4 (Deloitte, kpmg, pwc and ernst & young) or nothing else. This is far from the truth as accountants are needed in almost every organization of modern day business. Today I would be looking at career prospects for graduate accountants such as myself. Hope you enjoy.
The broad areas of work available to be performed by accountants in private, governmental and non-governmental organizations include:
1)Financial accounting services: This is needed in all organizations. It is provided by an in-house accountant that records, analyses and interprets historical information, and renders reports, and relates it to both the internal and external users to enable them make quality decisions. For example a financial accountant in an organization maintains accounts such as the cash account and other ledger accounts. He also prepares the financial statements on a quarterly basis or at the financial year end, to be approved by the management and which is thereafter submitted to the securities and exchange commission for consumption by the public or external users. In government establishments, accountants that perform these type of work are given various titles such as financial accountant, treasurer etc. In the private sector, they are given titles such as financial accountant, financial officer, financial controller etc.
2) Cost or Management accounting services: The accountant solely provides information for internal management for informed decision making. Management accountants analyze the performance of a business and advice on key areas such as product and service pricing, and planning control in other to adapt to the ever changing business environment, and to constantly improve value for the organization.
3) Taxation Services: Taxation service is one of the core services provided by professional accounting service firms. This is because paying tax is compulsory for all companies and with the knowledge that it is illegal for a company to evade tax, she seeks to appoint a professional accountant to create a proper tax structure in order to minimize the amount of tax paid by an organization.
As there are tax specialists for the private sector, there are also tax specialists for the public sector. In the public sector, the job of the tax specialist will involve all the accounting activities undertaking to raise revenue for the government in form of taxation. For the private sector, the job of a tax specialist will be to ensure that the entity involved is not made to pay excessive tax.
4) Audit services: It is safe to say that this is the most popular service rendered by accountants. Accountants in this context are called auditors, and there are two types of auditors which are:
i) Internal auditors: As the name implies, they are internal, meaning that they are employed by the organization itself. An internal auditor seeks to evaluate and improve an organization’s internal control process, governance and risk management.
ii) External auditors: These are auditors outside the organization or entity, but employed by the organization to carry out independent audit work. Their main duty is to express an independent opinion on whether financial statements are presented in a true and fair view in accordance with the applicable accounting standards of the entity. Such accounting standards may be Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) or International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).
5) Management Consultancy: Management consultancy are professionals employed by organizations to evaluate and improve their performance, operating primarily through the analysis of existing organizational problems and the development of plans for improvement. An accountant can become a management consultant, and provide specialized services such as feasibility studies for new products and business products, funding advice on capital restructuring and gearing, capital investment appraisal, evaluation design and implementation of new systems.
6) Corporate Finance: Corporate finance is a function in investment banking. It deals with the sources of funding the capital structure of corporations, and the actions managers take to increase the value of the firm to the shareholders. It also seeks the efficient allocation of scarce resources. An accountant provides advice on corporate transactions such as management buying in or buying out. The accountant is not limited to this as he can also advice on matters involving tax implications, financing methods, business valuation, business planning and others.
7) Equity research: This is a career that deals with the analysis of stocks or other securities in a bid to provide insightful investment ideas and recommendations to the firm’s traders, portfolio managers, institutional investors and other clients. An accountant knows the rudiments of a financial statement, and can also perform quality financial analysis on these statements. This is in essence what equity research analysts do, they value the stock of a company by using financial models to make future projections of the stock. Then they issue recommendations of buy, sell or hold the stock. An equity research analyst works closely with an investment management or asset management unit, providing providing research for, and making recommendations to portfolio managers.
8) Corporate treasury: This involves identification, assessment and management of financial risk within an organization. Duties of corporate treasury include:
i) Management of cash and deposits
ii) Liquidity planning and control
iii) Provision of short term and long term borrowing
iv) Hedging of risks associated with interest rate and foreign exchange rate movement.
9) Forensic accounting: This is accounting service provided mainly for the court, like in cases of fraud or embezzlement. It involves the provision of financial analysis on financial information for use in legal proceedings. Forensic Accountants provide an accounting analysis that is suitable to the court and form the basis of discussion, debate, and ultimately dispute resolution. Forensic accountants are trained to analyze and scrutinize various areas of financial information and procedure practiced by an organization.
10) Financial Planning: Accountants have expert knowledge of business, and they can advise on financial choices and assist with investment planning and estate planning. An accountant can help decide on pension plans, bonds and equities, insurance plans and the purchase of assets. The suitability of accountants to advise on such is further emboldened by their expert knowledge of tax and their understanding of tax implications and the latest tax development which are not known to ordinary people.
11) Corporate recovery / insolvency: Accountants skills can be utilized by companies facing financial difficulties. The accountant can use his professional skill and experience to manage or administer insolvency procedures.