(uh-koun-ting aw-dit-ing and taks) (n.)
The industry of preparing, maintaining and examining the finances of businesses or individuals.
To enter the workforce as an accounting professional, a bachelor's degree is the minimum education requirement. Some firms may require at least a master's degree. If an accountant is filing a report with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), then he or she must be a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Every state has a different set of rules regarding the CPA designation, with many of them requiring work experience before an applicant can take the exam.
When going through a client's financial statements, accounting professionals make sure to comply with current laws and regulations, and they may inspect past statements to ensure the client has been financially efficient. If there are financial problems, the accounting professional may make recommendations on ways for the client to cut costs and improve profits. When tax season comes around, the accountant will compute the amount of taxes owed and prepare to file a return to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on behalf of the client.
Usually, an accountant or auditor will work from an office, though some may have the chance to work from home. Travel opportunities are rare and usually involve visiting the client's home or business. The average workweek for an accounting professional is around 40 hours a week. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, one in five accountants work more than 40 hours every week. Tax season tends to be the busiest time of the year, with most accounting professionals working longer hours to help their clients.