Do I need to have a heavy math background (calculus, algebra, etc.) to do well in accountancy?
Not really. Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication and Division are basically all
you need, but you need to be well-practiced at these tasks.
What types of accountancy jobs are available?
There are many different types of accountancy jobs on the market. Here are just
a few with brief descriptions.
- Auditor -- Auditing involves checking accounting ledgers and financial
statements within businesses and government and may involve significant travel.
Audits are performed to ascertain the validity and reliability of information; also
to provide an assessment of a system's internal control. The goal of an audit is
to express an opinion on the person / organization / system (etc.) in question,
under evaluation based on work done on a test basis.
Recent auditing has begun to include non-financial subject areas, such as safety,
security, information systems performance, and environmental concerns. With nonprofit
organizations and government agencies, there has been an increasing need for performance
audits, examining their success in satisfying mission objectives. As a result, there
are now audit professionals who specialize in security audits, information systems
audits, and environmental audits.
- Analyst -- An accounting analyst evaluates and interprets public
company financial statements. The statements include the balance sheet, the income
statement, the statement of cash flows and the notes to the financial statements.
This individual has extensive training in understanding financial accounting principles
for public companies based on generally accepted accounting principles as provided
by the Financial Accounting Standards Board. He/she may have additional experience
in applying international accounting standards based on the rules promulgated by
the International Accounting Standards Board. The accounting analyst will most likely
hold a Masters Degree in Accounting (MSAcc) and will have specialized in the financial
accounting area. Alternatively, the analyst may have an MBA degree with an Accounting
- Financial -- The financial accountant prepares financial statements
and participates in important financial decisions about financial planning and long-term
financial projections. The work can be varied. One day you may be running spreadsheets.
The next day you may be visiting a customer or supplier to set up a new account
and discuss business. This work requires a good understanding of both accounting
- Forensic -- Forensic accountants are experienced auditors, accountants,
and investigators of legal and financial documents that are hired to look into possible
fraudulent activity within a company, or are hired by a company who may just want
to prevent fraudulent activities from occurring. They also provide services in areas
such as accounting, antitrust, damages, analysis, valuation, and general consulting.
Forensic accountants have also been used in divorces, bankruptcy, insurance claims,
personal injury claims, fraudulent claims, construction, royalty audits, and tracking
terrorism by investigating financial records. Many forensic accountants work closely
with law enforcement personnel and lawyers during investigations and often appear
as expert witnesses during trials.
- Fund -- Fund accounting is an accounting system emphasizing accountability
rather than profitability, used by non-profit organizations and governments. In
this system, a fund is a self-balancing set of accounts, segregated for specific
purposes in accordance with laws and regulations or special restrictions and limitations.
Fund accounting, has also been applied to investment accounting, portfolio accounting
or securities accounting – all synonyms describing the process of accounting for
a portfolio of investments such as securities, commodities and/or real estate held
in an investment fund such as a mutual fund or hedge fund.
- Management Accounting -- Management accounting or managerial accounting
is concerned with the provisions and use of accounting information by managers within
organizations, to provide them with the basis to make informed business decisions
that will allow them to be better equipped in their management and control functions.
In contrast to financial accounting information, management accounting information
* forward-looking, instead of historical;
* model based with a degree of abstraction to support decision- making generically,
instead of case based;
* designed and intended for use by managers within the organization, instead of
being intended for use by shareholders, creditors, and public regulators;
* usually confidential and used by management, instead of publicly reported;
* computed by reference to the needs of managers, often using management information
systems, instead of by reference to general financial accounting standards.
- Tax -- Tax accountants prepare business and personal income tax
statements, formulate tax strategies, support decisions involving mergers or acquisitions,
account for deferral of taxes, and other tax decisions. This type of accounting
needs a thorough understanding of economics and the tax codes and laws. A good background
in law helps. U.S. tax accounting refers to accounting for taxes in the United States.
The United States has a comprehensive set of accounting principles for tax purposes,
prescribed by tax law, which are separate and distinct from Generally Accepted Accounting
What is the difference between accounting and finance?
- Accounting is the preparation of accounting records. This includes measuring, preparation,
analyzing, and the interpretation of financial statements. Accounting is also often
referred to as the voice of business, the language of business, and the heart of
business. Mostly because the financial documents derived from the accounting preparation
are widely used among managers, investors, tax authorities, executives, and many
others to see how the company is performing.
- Finance covers a huge array of subjects, but the three main terms when comparing
to accounting would be:
- The study of money and capital markets which deals with many of the topics covered
- Management and control of assets and investments, which focuses on the decisions
of individual, as well as financial institutions and other organizations as they
choose securities for their investments portfolios.
- Managerial finance (business finance) which involves the actual management of the
firm, as well as profiling and managing project risks.