When some people hear the word “accountant,” they visualize a worker toiling away in a back room of a business reviewing large books of numbers for hours on end. Fortunately, this is not an accurate picture of today's accountants because they’ve become stronger strategic partners in businesses instead of just number-crunchers.
What is an accountant?
Accountants are primarily responsible for maintaining and inspecting an organization’s financial records. They may work within the organization itself, or they may provide consulting services to several different organizations.
What do accountants do?
Accountants help manage an organization’s financial assets and records, which include point-of-sale records, inventories, department budgets, internal reports used for executive decision-making and external reports for both the government and investors. Accountants may also be involved in auditing an organization’s financial records to ensure that they are accurate.
If those activities appeal to you, you’ll be happy to know that accountants are in demand. About 136,400 openings for accountants and auditors are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire. It's a good time to consider becoming an accountant.
How has technology impacted the role of the accountant?
With the advent of information systems and technology, the role of the accountant is changing. Many automated systems are now able to collect and compile the information that accountants typically handled manually. However, these systems have not decreased the need for accountants. In fact, technology has allowed accountants to provide additional benefits to businesses. With vast amounts of easily accessible data, accountants can work more quickly to provide organizations with insights as to how they can increase efficiency in their business operations.
Now, more accountants are taking a prominent strategic role in businesses, where they can provide expert opinions on business operations in addition to financial management services. This trend will continue as automated systems become more prevalent, and increased competition compels businesses to seek the assistance of those who truly understand the operational and financial inner workings of a company.