Accountant: Job Description, Salary & Career Path

Accountant

An accountant has a vital role to play in any businesses or enterprise. As somebody who has spent years learning their craft, accountants take responsibility for balancing the books of the company they work for. They make sure that all of the money that passes through the business is accounted for and correctly allocated. Without accountants and their wide-ranging set of skills, it would be impossible to function in the business world, which is why there will never be a shortage of accountant roles to be filled in the job marketplace.

Links Recruitment will walk you through everything you need to know about what it means to be an accountant. As well as a thorough accountant job description, you’ll discover what kinds of responsibilities and duties accountants have, qualifications you’ll need to become an accountant, and what the career path might look like. Whether you’re interested in becoming an accountant yourself or you’re looking to hire an accountant, this page will provide you with all of the pertinent information.

What Is Working as an Accountant Like?

Working as an accountant requires spending a lot of time with data, which will be organised in a number of different ways. You’ll also be working closely with management, as well as with different departments, in order to ensure that the company’s financial health is accurately reflected in the reports you create.

There are a lot of tasks accountants are responsible for. Here are some of the most typical duties one will experience working in this capacity:

  • Documenting financial transactions by recording relevant account information
  • Auditing existing documents in order to substantiate prior financial transactions
  • Sorting out any financial discrepancies you may come across by analysing account information and drawing conclusions
  • Completing large-scale backups of company data to ensure that financial information is kept safe and secure
  • Requesting disbursements when necessary
  • Providing financial reports to management by carrying out research and data analysis
  • Guiding teams of clerical staff by assigning duties and answering any queries that arise
  • Guaranteeing financial security by following internal protocols and procedures
  • Maintaining customer confidence in the company and ensuring that stakeholders have accurate financial information to work with
  • Preparing payments by verifying the accuracy of different documents
Job Duties

Even though it’s possible to become an accountant by first spending time in entry-level positions like bookkeeping, most accountants hold a four-year bachelor’s degree in accountancy or a related field. Here are some of the skills you’ll need to have to work as an accountant:

  • Bachelor’s degree in accountancy or related field. Alternatively, Master’s or similar post-grad degree in a related field in order to become a certified public accountant
  • A post-graduate qualification from a recognised accounting institution is highly preferred in Hong Kong
  • A keen eye for detail, since a single digit or misplaced decimal point can have disastrous consequences for the company
  • Strong math skills are highly recommended, as you’ll be working with numbers throughout most of your career
  • Organisational skills are required, as poorly-organised company finances can be a source of chaos throughout the entire business
  • Good technological skills, such as with spreadsheet programs and other kinds of software
  • A diligent, analytical approach to work will serve  well the daily work life as an accountant
Man Working at Computer

Once you’ve graduated with a bachelor’s degree in accountancy or a similar field — or after a few years of experience working as a bookkeeper or clerk — you’ll be able to start work at an entry-level accountant position. After spending several years working at the entry-level, you’ll be able to advance to a position as a senior accountant, and from there can often rise further to hold a managerial role within the company. 

It’s also possible to proceed from an accounting degree into a recognised accounting training institute, which will teach you the requisite skills to become a certifies public accountant (CPA). Upon completion of the programme, you’ll have a firm grasp of the knowledge required, as well as the real-world experience of time spent working under the guidance of a qualified CPA. This additional training will prepare you for roles that involve greater levels of responsibility and is highly valued by employers in the marketplace.

It’s possible for accountants to scale the entire corporate ladder. If you’ve proven yourself to be capable in a managerial capacity (i.e., managing a team of accountants or similar professionals), you could find yourself on the path to partner, which would come with an equity stake in the company you’re working for. It’s even possible for accountants to eventually become the CFO, which is the highest possible rung on the ladder for financial professionals within a business or enterprise.

Man in Suit in City

With such high demand for accountants throughout the world, salaries continue to rise, although they are still largely based on years of experience within the role. Here’s how an accountant salary could look in different locations:

Position No. of Year Experience Hong Kong Monthly Salary (HKD) Singapore Monthly Salary (SGD) China Monthly Salary (RMB)
Experienced Accountant 10-19 30k-60k 7k-11k 15k-30k
Mid-Career Accountant 5-9 20k-30k 3k-6k 9k-14k

More information about salaries and salary trends throughout 2020 can be found in the Links International salary guide.

If you’re interested in working as an accountant, the Links International job search page can help you out by providing a list of relevant jobs. If you want to hire an accountant for your business, Links International can help you to discover the ideal candidate for the position. Visit the Links International recruitment page to get the ball rolling!

Download the Salary Guide Now!

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