What does an accountant do?


Quick Answer

The specific activities of an accountant vary based on employment type; however, accountants generally record financial transactions and prepare reports for employers or clients. Common accounting roles include management accountant, public accountant and government accountant.

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Full Answer

Management accountants perform accounting activities on behalf of an employer. Their primary responsibilities include recording and reviewing financial transactions, preparing internal accounting reports, and advising management on financial situations. The reports they prepare for managers are used to make strategic and financial decisions. Accountants are typically held responsible for accurate recording of financial transactions.

Certified public accountants are also able to prepare financial reports for public companies, which are filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. CPAs often work in public companies or accounting firms. Public accountants also prepare and review tax reports and advise management on the most efficient accounting strategies to minimize tax obligations.

Government accountants either perform accounting duties for a government agency, or audit the financial records of companies on behalf of the IRS. Government agencies prepare financial reports and tax documents just as public companies do. Accountants that work for the IRS ensure business accounting reports are accurate. When errors are found, company owners are required to pay additional taxes and penalties.

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