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Accountants and auditors ensure that firms are run efficiently by providing them with valuable financial information and accurate record keeping. Accountants on a day-to-day basis are responsible for bookkeeping, including the tracking of expenses and revenue, payroll, and paying bills. Accountants are also responsible for preparing balance sheets, profit and loss statements, and other financial reports, and may also analyze trends, costs, revenues, financial commitments, and obligations to predict future revenues and expenses.
Accountants are increasingly becoming an important part of successful business teams. This is because they understand the language of money and a company's complex financial situation better than any other employees in the company. Therefore, they are not only responsible for reporting finances to management; they offer suggestions regarding resource utilization, tax strategies, and assumptions underlying budget forecasts. Auditors examine this accounting and financial data and procedures to ensure accuracy and compliance with government guidelines and laws. They work to identify improper accounting or documentation and research issues in order to make recommendations to improve policies or procedures accordingly.
Auditors and accountants need to be critical and detail-oriented thinkers. Individuals should have an aptitude for math and an understanding of patterns that influence financial performance. Those individuals that don't enjoy solving detailed problems and performing analyses should not enter either of these professions. In addition, strong written and verbal communication skills are becoming increasingly important for both professions as they often interact and work with a variety of other departments and professionals.
Accountants and auditors work in many different areas
throughout private and government industries. But, about a
fourth of accountants work for accounting, auditing, and
bookkeeping firms and approximately 3 out of 25 accountants
and auditors are self-employed. Some individuals with
accounting and auditing backgrounds will work as full-time
faculty at colleges and universities or part-time while still
working professionally. While many are unlicensed, a large
number are Certified Public Accountants (CPAs). Most work in
urban areas where public accounting firms and corporate
headquarters tend to be located.
Auditors who have graduated from an accredited college or
university and who have worked for 2 years as internal
auditors and passed the four-part auditor examination may
earn a Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) designation from The Institute
of Internal Auditors. In addition, those with 5 years of
experience in auditing electronic data processing systems can
earn the designation of Certified Information Systems Auditor
(CISA) after passing the required examinations.
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