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What duties are detailed in an accountant's job description?

Accountants have one of the widest job descriptions in the professional world due to the level of detail and vigilance required in financial record keeping. This article gives a brief description of their roles and the type of organisations in which they practise their professions.

Primary duty

The primary duty that an accountant performs in any organisation is to maintain financial records. This role encompasses a wide range of tasks, ranging from keeping current records of income and expenditure to regulating tax payments. The job description varies from organisation to organisation depending on the specifications of the job. The broad categories correspond with the orientation of the particular accountant with the categories divided into government accountant, public accountant, management accountant and internal audit accountant. Public accountants Public accountants perform the most basic account work that covers general accounting duties, auditing of financial records, keeping tax records and performing consultancy services for internal and external customers. These professionals can work in a diverse set of both public and private organisations, especially mid-sized to small enterprises that require few accountants.
Government accountants Government accountants primarily work for state agencies and maintain internal financial records. A second group scrutinise the financial records of organisations under government regulation or taxation. Their main duties involve ensuring that revenues to the government come as expected while expenditures are spent within budgetary limits.

Administrative role

Management accountants Management accountants undertake normal accounting duties with the additional function of performing administrative roles. They mainly work for private firms and perform more analytical roles as compared to the previous two types. Many sit in the management boards of the firms that they work for and participate in strategic planning sessions due to their understanding of financial intricacies.
Internal auditors Lastly, internal auditors play the role of financial watchdogs within their organisation. It is their duty to check whether financial records in an entity are accurate and up-to-date. They also conduct a forensic audit job by checking areas of financial mismanagement or fraud and generally try to keep an organisation’s funds within the stipulated budgetary limits. A final word In general, most certified accountants can work in all the mentioned areas since their training covers the basics in each designation. Specialisation in specific niches has resulted in large organisation employing many different types of accountants who dedicate themselves to specific areas only.

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