Accounting as a kind of occupation has existed at all times. It could have another name and include varied scope of responsibilities, though this did not lessen its importance. as different kind of economies have always required professionals to monitor economic activities. The primary management objective of accounting is collection and processing of complete information on activities of the entity.
This information is mainly used for making decisions based on economic analysis and financial control. With development of civilization the role of accountant has become more authoritative. It is probably at its peak today in the 21st century. No institution can dispense with an accountant ranging from small enterprises, where the staff consists of 5 people to the most powerful corporations and even governments (Mahesh Chand Garg, 2010, p.6).
Accounting, as many other professions includes a variety of duties. On the one hand it is quite popular and on the other is very challenging due to complexity and the level of stress. Today, an accountant is to carry legal and financial expertise. In order to avoid financial penalties, the accountant should focus on the legal field, to keep abreast of industry events, and remain well versed in financial matters. In addition, perception of accounting as boring and monotonous job is not consistent with the reality. It could rather be said that this perception depends on one’s attitude to work.
Beyond the numbers and forms of documents, the accountant should be able to see real facts of economic life. In essence, one could find many elements of creativity in solving financial and economic issues within this profession.
In addition, the accountant should see an overall picture of production. Working with documents, one should consider possible threats and ways of their prevention. In this regard all the smallest details have to be taken into account in order to make the right decision. Results of quality accounting might be seen in the long term, which includes understanding of the company’s strategic goal and developing the right strategy on the part of the accountant.
Sometimes the firm’s clients or even its managers follow one or the other direction in the work. A competent accountant should be able to communicate and explain all the benefits of working along the avenue chosen. Even small economies with little operation profit, costs and investment need accounting professionals, let alone such complex mechanism as a country.
Operations of the United States Department of the Treasury are not limited to simple control of spending and income. The functions of the Ministry include development and implementation of economic and monetary policies of the United States, regulation of export and import, management of financial institutions, tax collection and monetizing among others. In a figural sense, it’s a big kitchen, where dozens of professionals perform their tasks, to ensure stability of the national economy. Financial well-being of the population of the whole country depends on how efficiently and conscientiously each worker performs his part.
Professional accountant does not only keep track of the activities of the economy, but also knows what can be done to improve performance of the latter. For example, a professional accountant may affect the company’s development strategy since he controls the income of the firm and determines how to reduce the costs.
Defining characteristic of the profession of accountant is taking on the responsibility to act in the public interest. Therefore, professional accountant is responsible not only for meeting the needs of individual clients or employers but also for general benefit of the public.
A professional accountant should have the following qualities and qualifications: probity and honesty, objectivity, professional competence and due care, confidentiality and decent behavior. Professional accountant has to be direct and honest in all business and professional relations, he shouldn’t allow biasness, the conflict of interests or excessive influence over other people (Walther & Skousen, 2007).
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He shall at all times possess professional knowledge and skill at the level required to provide to the client or employer of a competent professional services based on knowledge of modern trends, practices, legislation and technology. Providing services, the accountant should act in good faith and comply with professional and technical standards. The accountant has to respect the information confidentiality obtained as a result of professional and business relations, hence, shouldn’t reveal such information to the third parties. A professional accountant has to comply with relevant regulations and laws to refrain from any action that may discredit the profession. Finally, personal qualities such as critical thinking increase the value of such employee for the company.
Therefore, neglecting at least one of the above characteristics, the accountant cannot be considered a professional. Unlike the amateur, professional does his work flawlessly.
The professional must be ready to take responsibility for every decision made. Hence, each step must be considered in advance. For an employer who has hired a specialist, unable to perform at the highest level, the consequences can be disastrous. Failure of the company management to pay attention to the level of professionalism of its employees always bears devastating outcomes, which in some cases, may even be fatal for the company. (Willis, 2010).
Errors in accounting always lead to additional audits by the tax service, fines, audits, litigation and/or even the courts. Some amateur accountants do not care about welfare of the company and deal with their personal matters at the expense of the company. Such accountants jeopardize not only reputation of the company managers, but reputation of the whole company.
For example, having economic education serves as a benefit when one decides to start his own business. Hence, being an accountant makes it easier to conduct own business since financial affairs would always be under one’s personal control.
Running a big company requires adequate number of employees and ability to understand all the running processes in your accounting, controlling and analyzing them would be an undeniable advantage.(Walther & Skousen, 2010).
According to those who benefit from the work of the accountant, the value of an accountant can be raised only by his honesty and thoroughness in performing the entrusted tasks. Therefore, the best option for any chief executive officer of a company would be to make an accountant his deputy so as to be able to track and correct any mistakes which could jeopardize reputation of the company or put the business at risk.
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I have a personal example of why many people use the services of a personal accountant or a banker. One of my friends has started her professional career at a very young age. She thoughtfully commanded her finances and by the age of 30, she had a good sum. She trusted the purchase and repair of houses to one of her friends. She relied only on his honesty, but as it turned out, in vain. Later she realized that he cheated on her and makes a profit at her expense.
Then she decided to conduct all her affairs with the help of her own accountant who managed her accounts, income and expenses.
Several qualities that add to value of an accountant value in the eyes of the client or employer can be listed. For example, ability to handle stress, ability to recognize a situation that may be a threat to business, ability to admit one’s mistakes and to fix them in the quickest way, curiosity, desire to learn, being a good communicator, showing initiative and confidence (Edmonds, McNair, Olds, & Milam, 2013).
The accounting profession is versatile and interesting, though in order to become a professional one needs to immerse in it. One must be prepared to take decisions in a quick and effective manner, and most importantly – to take responsibility for the decisions taken. Additionally, one must understand that he/she determines success of the enterprise, with one’s actions either making the company profitable or ruining it with incompetence.