Top Questions About A Career In Public Accounting Answered!
Contemplating a career as a public accountant but not sure of the ins and outs?
We’ll help answer all your queries.
Q1- How Are They Different From ‘Non-Public’ Accountants?
‘Non-public’ accountants work within a company, organization or government agency and their scope of work is more internal in nature, i.e. they work for a company managing accounts, budgeting, treasury, etc. Public accountants, on the other hand, provide auditing, tax and consulting services to other companies and therefore their nature of work is more external. They may work for public accounting companies or have their own small setup.
Q2- What Is The Scope Of Work For Public Accountants?
The work of public accountants involves financial documents that companies are required to disclose by law. These include all tax forms and financial statements such as the balance sheet, profit and loss statement, cash flow statement, etc. They also have to audit statements to inform authorities and investors if the statements have been prepared and reported legitimately and correctly.
Public accountants also advise their clients on taxation with respect to the tax advantages of certain decisions, calculating tax liability, etc. Besides that, they also provide consultation and advice to companies on monetary planning, operations and financial performance.
Q3- What About Certification?
The CPA – Certified Public Accountant – is the certification that professionals in public accounting go for. All candidates have to pass the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Exam for this certification, and the exam is administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). The eligibility to appear for it varies from state to state. Most states require a bachelor’s degree and at least two years of public accounting experience to be eligible for this exam. The license is awarded by the state board of accountancy.
Q4- What Skills Do Public Accountants Need?
Besides good math and computer skills, public accountants need to have great analytical skills to be able to work with and audit complex financial statements. Besides, their communication skills should also be above average because they have to communicate with clients to understand their needs and explain financial details to them. In addition, they need to have a very keen eye for detail to be able to identify any noteworthy aspects of a client’s finances.
Q5- Is The Job Stress Very High?
Because public accountants are dealing with accounting nitty gritties of external companies, they have to be very careful about their work, which often makes tasks a tad more challenging for these professionals than internal accountants. The work hours tend to be long, particularly in the initial years of one’s career, though many gradually achieve work-life balance over the years. Yet, those who are passionate about the profession absolutely love the challenging work environment and find it rather rewarding and invigorating.
So what do you think of becoming a public accountant? If you’ve got the will and passion to go for it, start looking for an accredited college for your accounting degree!