DISCOVER
×

What are the different types of accountants?

With an accounting degree, you can pursue a career in auditing, cost accounting, forensic accounting, public accounting, tax accounting, private accounting, trust accounting or financial advising, among specialities. What are the different types of accountants?

Types

Regardless of the type of accountant you choose to be, you will help businesses, individuals or the government to analyse and understand financial information. Accountants help businesses run efficiently by preparing and analysing financial documents. Auditors ensure that financial records are accurate to protect investors and employees. Financial advisers assist in investment planning and help individuals prepare for retirement. Forensic accountants investigate white-collar crimes including issues like securities fraud, embezzlement and bankruptcies.

Features

If you choose to be an accountant for the business sector, there are still many different accounting functions you can perform. Businesses need general ledger accountants who among other things may take care of posting sales, purchases, payroll and depreciation. Businesses need cost accountants who may calculate actual production costs, standard costs or estimate new product costs for bids. Internal auditors verify inventories as well as department compliance with generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP.

Identification

Some accountants desire the prestige associated with certification in one of the 46 accounting specialities such as CPA, CMA, CFE, PFS or CFP, to name a few. Passing a series of intense examinations ensures your competence and thus increases your potential earnings as an accountant. A Certified Public Accountant title will open doors in government, non-profit and other industries who want to hire a certified professional. A Certified Management Accountant title will help those accountants interested in seeking supervisory or managerial positions in business accounting departments. Those who are interested in financial planning should consider pursuing a Personal Financial Specialist title. They become certified to buy and sell securities on the stock exchange.

Considerations

Those accountants who are interested in budgeting, cost management, asset management and evaluating company performance should consider becoming management accountants. These accountants are responsible for analysing financial information, reducing costs and the accuracy of data input among other job duties.

Significance

Federal legislation restricts some of the services public accountants provide to individual clients. For example, if an accounting firm provides an audit of financial statements for a client, the firm cannot advise the same client about investment, legal matters, human resources or technology. Accountants may create financial statements for a company to be distributed to creditors, stockholders, tax authorities and regulatory agencies. Therefore, those considering an accounting career should be able to compare numbers and quickly analyse and interpret figures.

bibliography-icon icon for annotation tool Cite this Article

About the Author

Julia Fuller began her professional writing career eight years ago covering special-needs adoption. She holds a bachelor's degree in accounting from Marywood College, is co-owner of GJF Rental Properties as well as a livestock and grain crop farm. She worked for the United States Postal Service and a national income tax service.