What Are Accountants?
Accountants are trained professionals, whose main duty is to calculate financial data. Their role can be as personal assistants to an attorney or as accountants in their own firms. They use different forms of financial methods, such as the accrual and disbursement method, the income and cost method, the cash flow method, the balance sheet method, etc. They interpret these financial forms and keep a record of all the transactions that they have performed on behalf of their clients. Accountants have to prepare the financial reports that represent the business and present them to their clients for appropriate comments.
An accountant is usually a certified public accountant (CPA), a non-Certified Public Accountant (NP), or an assistant of a CPA. There are also many accountants, called bookkeepers, who are independent contractors and have to be paid by the client. A small number of accountants are also employed by a company and act as its direct employees. As an employee of a company, the accountants have no legal right to create, alter, or implement any aspect of the company’s business, but they can perform basic accounting functions. In order to become an accountant, an individual must obtain an associate degree from an accredited school, pass the examination approved by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants or the National Association of Business Examiners, and meet other educational and work experience requirements. In order to become a CPA, an individual must also pass the examinations approved by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Many accountants choose to become self-employed by establishing their own accounting firm, while others work for accounting firms or large firms. Some accountants are also employed by government agencies, such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), or the General Services Administration (GSA). Some GSA employees include examiners, tax assessors, disability examiners, and forensic accountants.