What Does a Typical Day Look Like for an Accountant?

Individuals who are interested in pursuing an in-demand career that offers opportunities to use mathematical, analytical, and other skills might consider accounting. With choices for what type of position and where to work, future accountants have many options for what a typical day at work will look like.

Workplace Environments and Career Positions

Several specializations exist within the accounting field, enabling a professional accountant to best meet the needs of clients or companies. Some of the possibilities for specific accounting careers include positions as an auditor or internal accountant, forensic accountant, financial advisor, accounting consultant, tax accountant, and management accountant.

Many accountants work for government agencies, law enforcement agencies, private corporations, educational institutions, and non-profit organizations. Accountants in these types of positions most often work normal business hours, Monday through Friday in an office setting. Accountants might also choose to start a private business in order to be self-employed.

Accounting Skills and Responsibilities

Whatever area of accounting, there are a number of skills utilized to complete common tasks during a typical work day. Accountants spend the majority of the work day analyzing, collecting, compiling, and evaluating financial data. Accountants also prepare a variety of reports and financial statements, from daily cash flow statements for small companies to annual financial reports for large organizations.

Accountants must also be skilled in ensuring that all transactions and financial records are in compliance with any regulations, legislation, or company policies and guidelines. This requires careful attention to detail and skill in valuation and auditing. Accountants also need solid skills in working with computers and for working with others, including interpersonal skills.

Other possible tasks an accountant might complete in a day at work include designing and implementing accounting systems, forecasting and budgeting, preparing income tax, investment and tax planning, conducting internal audits on accounts, and making financial recommendations. Accountants might also move into positions in management, which require various skills such as leadership, scheduling, and negotiation, or teach accounting courses, which requires skills in training and facilitation.

Professional Development and Continuing Education

The majority of positions and careers in accounting require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. Many accounting professionals, however, will also continue on to complete an accounting master’s degree, which will require time each day for studying, completing assignments, and other academic activities.

In addition to continuing on with a graduate degree or other continuing education courses, most accountants will need professional certifications to qualify for various job positions. Accounting professionals working with taxes will need the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation, for instance. More information on the CPA exam can be reviewed at the American Institute of CPAs at http://www.aicpa.org/BecomeACPA/CPAExam/Pages/CPAExam.aspx. Additional certifications include the Certified Management Accountant, Certified Fraud Examiner, and Certified Financial Planner. Obtaining these certifications is likely to be a part of an accounting professional’s day at some point in a career.

For any type of organization that exchanges goods and services, accounting is involved in order to keep track of gains and losses. While the exact activities and work schedule might vary, many professionals share what a typical day looks like for an accountant.