The 4 types of Accountants



Accountants may choose to pursue one of four general career paths, all of which require a similar set of skills in order to succeed. In addition to strong mathematical and analytical skills, they also need to be able to express their findings clearly when speaking and writing. The practice of accounting is virtually completely computer-based and often incorporates specialty software and accounting information systems, so accountants must also have some basic IT skills. Accountants must be meticulous, thorough, conscientious, and honest in the performance of their duties.

Public accounting is often practiced by licensed professionals known as certified public accountants (CPAs). CPA Requirements consist of evaluating financial information and prepare financial statements and tax returns for small business owners and individuals. CPAs are authorized to attest to the accuracy and completeness of the information contained within the financial statements they prepare.

Accountants who specialize in management accounting maintain and analyze the financial records of the companies they work for. They may be involved in developing a company’s budget, strategic plan, and advising on the development of new internal procedures.

Accountants who work in the area of government accounting maintain the records of governmental agencies. Government accounting involves ensuring compliance with various federal and state laws and regulations, including those promulgated by the IRS.

Accountants who offer internal auditing services evaluate the accuracy and completeness of the information contained in a company’s financial statements and reports. They evaluate the company’s internal financial procedure and monitor financial records looking for waste, fraud, and financial mismanagement. They are ultimately responsible for determining whether a company’s internal financial controls operate effectively and are in compliance with corporate policy as well as applicable laws and regulations.