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Public Accountants: A Public Accountant is what most people are referring to when they say "Accountant" as this is the type of Accountant is the one most people most commonly come into contact with. They provide a variety of accountancy services, which may include bookkeeping, auditing, tax preparation and business consulting. Often, this type of Accountant will specialise in a certain field such as tax preparation.
Management Accountants: A Management Accountant will generally work as a company employee, dealing with the day-to-day accounting needs of their employer. Management Accountants have an important role in guiding their organisation and ensure that sound financial decisions are made.
Auditors: An Auditor is usually considered to be a type of Accountant; however their role is slightly different. Many companies work with both Accountants and Auditors. Both carry out similar day-to-day tasks, but usually on a quarterly or annual basis rather than daily. Their role will often be to check the work of a company’s in-house Management Accountants. Often Auditors are contracted from a third party to provide an independent oversight of a company’s internal accounting procedures.
Forensic Accountants: This type of Accountant deals primarily with accounting issues related to legal disputes, such as the reconstruction of destroyed or damaged financial records, working with parties involved in litigation to assure that payments due are rendered, to calculate damages arising from a breach of contract, or being involved in bankruptcy proceedings, divorces or cases of fraud.
Government Accountants: National and local Government employ a large number of Accountants to ensure that public funds are handled and accounted for correctly. This work may include allocating and managing budgets to keep spending within prescribed boundaries or working for to ensure that tax payers are properly reporting.
Within the above types of Accountants, the following job roles are typically performed:
Chartered Accountant: A Chartered Accountant will provide financial advice, audit accounts and provide information about financial records. This might involve financial reporting, taxation, auditing, forensic accounting, corporate finance, business recovery and insolvency, or accounting systems and processes. They play a strategic role in providing professional advice to maximise their client's or employer's profitability. In public practice, tasks carried out by a chartered accountant include: liaising with clients to provide financial information and advice, reviewing financial systems and analysing risk, advising clients on tax planning, advising businesses on mergers and acquisitions, maintaining accounting records and preparing management and statutory accounts, dealing with insolvency and detecting and preventing fraud. Within commerce, industry or the public and not-for-profit sector, work can involve: liaising with internal and external auditors and dealing with any irregularities should they arise, producing reports and recommendations following audits, preparing financial statements, undertaking financial planning and forecasting, advising on tax and treasury issues and negotiating credit and/or payment terms with suppliers.
Tax Accountant: A Tax Accountant will collect all the information necessary for them to complete tax forms, ensure that tax reports are filed in a timely manner and research relevant tax issues, advising management on the impact of differing strategies.
Chief Financial Officer: The CFO is typically a board-member position within a company. They typically have accountability for the accounting, taxation, and treasury staff and are responsible for devising and/or maintaining a proper system of controls, strategic planning, risk management, fund raising, investor relations, and investment.
Financial Controller: The Financial Controller manages the accounting department within a company and is therefore typically responsible for all transactions and controls within the department, including the production of financial statements and other financial reports.
Credit Manager: The Credit Manager is responsible for reviewing customer credit applications. Their goal should be to maximise revenue whilst minimising the risk of bad debt.
Project Accountant: A Project Accountant will work with a Project Manager to monitor the progress of projects, investigate any variation from the project budget and ensure that project-related invoices are issued and paid.
Fixed Asset Accountant: This role involves recording the cost of fixed assets as they are acquired and disposed of over time. The Fixed Asset Accountant must also account for depreciation and impairment charges.
Cost Accountant: This role involves reporting on the cost of products and services, as well as internal processes to assist the company in pricing its goods and services.
Budget Analyst: A Budget Analyst will be responsible for devising the annual budget (typically with the use of accounting software), comparing this to actual results and reporting on any variation.
General Ledger Clerk: The General Ledger Clerk is tasked with recording all journal entries in the general ledger and reconciling all accounts. They may also prepare any disclosures required to accompany the financial statements.
Payables Clerk: This role involves recording incoming supplier invoices, checking that they have been approved for payment and making payment in the most efficient way possible.
Payroll Clerk: The Payroll Clerk aggregates employees' working hours, calculates gross pay, subtracts payroll deductions to arrive at net pay and issues employee payments, generally with the assistance of a specialist software package.
Billing Clerk: The Billing Clerk, or simply Clerk is responsible for invoicing customers, issuing credit notes when required and keeping the financial ledgers or billing records up-to-date. Nowadays, this most often involves the day-to-day maintenance of a bookkeeping or accountancy software package.
Collections Clerk: A Collections Clerk's role is to collect payments related to overdue accounts receivable. They must decide which means are most efficient within the parameters of company policies and the law. The Collections Clerk may also recommend the 'writing off' of some receivables as bad debts.
Bookkeeper: The Bookkeeper enters accounting transactions and compiles financial statements from the data entered as well as reconciling the general ledger. Bookkeepers may also deal with the invoicing of customers, processing of cash receipts, issuing of purchase orders, payment of suppliers, tracking of fixed assets and calculating taxes due.
Cashier: The Cashier handles and itemises cash transactions, which may include clients' payment of invoices and generally involves the use of some kind of POS (point of sale) system such as a cash register.