Financial accounting is one of the most flexible skills that you can learn. Financial accountants work with every single business in one way, or another, either as an employee helping the organization to manage its day-to-day finances, or as a third party providing different kinds of advice. Independent financial accountants fulfill a number of roles, such as helping small businesses with their annual statements, performing audits and providing external consulting on a wide range of topics. This online course on corporate finance will give you a head start for getting into the world of accounting.
Keep reading to discover more about this amazingly diverse position and the financial accountant job description.
Get Focused Education
If you want to be a financial accountant, you need to focus on your education. It is essential that you have a thorough understanding of the basic principles of accounting and financial analysis. You also need to spend some time learning about taxation. Even if you do not want to become a tax accountant, you need to understand the ins and outs of corporate taxation. The starting point is to get a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance or auditing.
This covers the basic knowledge that you need to build on throughout your career. You do not need to get a certification to be a financial accountant, but it helps you to get one. Once you have your bachelors, you can either get a masters, or start studying to be a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), and apply to the state to take the CPA exam to get your license.
Hone Your Skills
During your education and beyond, it is essential that you master certain skills. The financial accountant job description requires you to be extremely precise, with a very sharp eye for detail as one wrong number can create a domino effect on the company, and even lead to legal action. You also need to learn to sort through large amounts of information very quickly. You will often need to glance at several key pieces of financial information and give an answer straight away. Taking this financial accounting course will help you gain a basic understanding of any obstacles you need to overcome.
A large part of a financial accountant’s job is explaining the different aspects of their work, to people who often shy away from numbers. This means that you need to be able to break down the complex parts of your work into pieces that are easily explainable. Clear communication is essential, as you will often be reporting directly to the decision makers of a company, who will act based on your advice.
Prepare Financial Statements
The most common type of work for financial accountants is preparing a company’s financial statements. If you are working for a company as their financial accountant, it will be your responsibility to provide weekly, monthly and yearly financial reports for management and shareholders. In most cases, you will not be responsible for inputting financial information. Your responsibility is ensuring that the information going into the financial and accounting systems is accurate.
Financial accountants are responsible for ensuring that all financial statements are prepared in accordance with the generally accepted accounting principles. This is to ensure that the information you produce is fair and complete. This means that you will have to prepare and review the balance sheet, income statement, cash flow report and the shareholder equity statements regularly.
Become Proficient at Financial Analysis
As a financial accountant, you are responsible for analyzing all the financial information that your employer or client produces. It is essential that you can effectively calculate and assess the different financial performance ratios of the company. Your job is to not only report that key numbers are increasing or decreasing, but also the exact reasons why. Management relies on your analysis of the performance of the company, in order to make key strategic decisions. If you decide to work as an independent financial accountant, you will often be asked to perform even more complex analysis.
Financial accountants are essential in areas such as corporate finance, where your analysis could decide whether a company is ready for a takeover or merger. If you choose to become an auditor, you will need to use your financial accounting knowledge, to analyze your client’s financial information in great detail, to ensure that nothing untoward is going on. Check out ways finance modeling to help you make more effective calculations.
A key part of your role is giving management the information it needs, to run the company effectively. In addition to reporting on the financial performance, you will often have to give them information about the best way to use company resources, and necessary adjustments to the business plan. You are also expected to update them on any relevant financial news, and changes in the financial environment. Senior financial accountants are often involved in decisions that are outside of purely financial matters, such as human resources and strategic planning. So, it will benefit you to be well rounded.
Maintain Continuous Learning
The regulations and methods of financial accounting are constantly evolving. In order to be an effective financial accountant, you need to stay on top of the changes that are occurring in the regulatory environment, as well as the latest best practices. When you are employed by a company, then you need to make sure that you get enough professional education hours and courses, to keep on top of the latest developments. CPA’s are required to complete an annual form that shows that they have completed a minimum number of hours of professional development. This blog post gives even more detail around the financial commandments regarding accounting.
Financial accounting is one of the most flexible jobs around. You can apply your skills to an almost infinite number of different jobs and roles. It is also excellent groundwork for a whole range of other more technical roles. Most CEO’s start out in either finance or sales so as you can see, the sky is really the limit.