How To Become An Online Accountant: A Comprehensive Guide
Updated 11 July 2023
Online accountants are professionals like in-house accountants who maintain accounts, analyse balance sheets and file company taxes. The only difference is that they work remotely. Accountants play an important role in handling financial information for companies and ensuring statutory compliances.
If you are interested in becoming an online accountant, learning about their career path can help you make the right career choice. In this article, we discuss how to become an online accountant, understand the roles and responsibilities, find out their average salary and explore the skills to become one.
Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.
How to become an online accountant
Here is a step-by-step guide to how to become an online accountant:
1. Pursue commerce after class 10
If you are interested in becoming an accountant, the first step is to pursue commerce after class 10. This gives you the opportunity to study subjects such as accounting, economics, business studies, mathematics and statistics. These subjects teach you the basics that are used later in your accounting career. Organisations looking for online accountants give preference to students who pursued commerce in 10+2. Some students may initially choose science or arts after class 10 and take a crash course from a reputed institute that covers all the basics of accounting and commerce if they decide to become an accountant later.
2. Get a bachelor's degree in commerce
If you can score 50-60% marks in class 12 in your commerce course, you can get admission to reputed commerce colleges in the country. After class 12, pursue a bachelor's degree in commerce (B.Com). This opens a number of career opportunities for students interested in financial jobs. You also learn several subjects like banking, investments, taxation, insurance, corporate secretaryship and accounting, all of which are important to becoming an online accountant.
3. Do internships
Prior to applying for jobs after college, apply for internships because they give you hands-on experience in the field. When applying for accounting jobs in the future, an internship in your resume can help you stand out if you are a fresher. An accounting internship prepares you for an actual job and makes you stand as a top candidate. An in-house accounting internship can help you develop the skills you might need as an online accountant.
4. Choose a specialisation
It is important to choose your specialisation as you prepare to become an online accountant because there are several accounting jobs to choose from. Some available options are managerial accounting, forensic accounting, corporate treasury, corporate finance, risk assessment and taxes. For further training in the specialisation you choose, you can get an additional degree or a diploma from a reputable financial institute.
5. Create your resume
An important part of getting hired as an online accountant is creating a resume that highlights your qualifications, strengths and skills needed for the job. If you have earned any certifications from reputed institutions like ICAI, make sure you include them in a section titled additional certifications. Highlight relevant skills like numerical ability, attention to detail, computer skills, time management and integrity. Mention any prior experience that you may have as an accountant and the responsibilities you undertook. If you are a fresher, you can also include relevant internship experiences in your resume.
Related: How To Make A Resume (With Examples)
6. Apply for online accountant jobs
Once you have achieved all the necessary qualifications and internship experience, it is important to start applying for online accountant jobs. You can find job openings through online job portals, company social media accounts or directly apply through company pages. While applying to an open position, attach a cover letter with your resume. In the cover letter, highlight your strengths and achievements that make you an ideal candidate for the job. Tailor your resume and cover letter for each job and use keywords or highlight skills that the recruiter may want in a potential candidate.
Roles and responsibilities of an online accountant
The roles and responsibilities of an online accountant may vary depending on the organisation that you work for, but generally, they are as follows:
keeping track of all financial transactions
reconciling accounts receivables and account payables
analysing balance sheets and profit and loss statements
calculating taxes and preparing annual tax returns
ensuring all legal compliances are being met
creating and reviewing budgetary forecasts
preparing audit reports
advising on acquisitions, mergers and investments
How much do online accountants make?
The job responsibilities of an online accountant are the same as that of an in-house accountant, so the compensation is the same for both positions. The average salary of an accountant is ₹18,000 per month. But, the individual salary of accountants largely depends on their educational qualifications, years of experience, skills and performance. Accountants working for larger firms may also have a higher average salary than those working for small companies.
Necessary skills to be an online accountant
Here are some skills that help online accountants do well:
Accountants process large amounts of numerical and financial information while creating, analysing and submitting financial statements. They monitor the financial transactions at an organisation-wide level. This requires accountants to be good with numbers and be able to handle large quantities of data effortlessly. Given that this is an important skill, colleges incorporate it into the curriculum through subjects like mathematics and statistics.
Attention to detail
Accountants handle important financial information, where every single detail is important. A minor miscalculation or data entry errors can cause rejections, defaults, penalties for the organisation and violations of regulations. To avoid this, attention to detail is an important skill to keep accountants from missing out on important details. This competency ensures all reports generated by an accountant are accurate.
Accounting professionals typically complete almost all of their tasks using computers and software programs. They handle high volumes of financial information every day and having excellent computer skills can help them in achieving productivity, accuracy and efficiency. Another important skill that accountants have is the ability to run complex accounting software. In addition to Microsoft Excel, organisations employ numerous other accounting tools for bookkeeping and accounting.
A key role of accountants is the creation, analysis and presentation of financial statements to senior management. They may also interact with other business stakeholders to convey important financial information. Good communication skills allow them to communicate their message correctly and confidently present the information.
Accountants manage all financial activities within an organisation for which they take up multiple responsibilities. Time management competencies allow them to manage their time efficiently and meet deadlines. Efficient time management is about prioritising tasks and delegating responsibilities as needed.
Organisations trust accountants with all their financial data and make a lot of sensitive information available. Accountants are responsible for being honest and honest as investors and stakeholders place their trust in the company. It is important that accountants be ethical, transparent and compliant with all confidentiality agreements or other corporate policies.
Online accountants can work at a location they choose. Although most organisations have time tracking applications and processes to monitor remote employees, some organisations do not. In such cases, it is important to maintain discipline and professionalism, even if there is no one to oversee their activities. This ensures online accountants are able to deliver on time and also maintain a professional work culture while working remotely.
Is an online accountant a good career option?
Accounting is a good career choice as it offers a high level of job security. Most organisations require accountants to maintain their financial records for them, help them file taxes and ensure they comply with all necessary regulations. It is why, even when economic conditions change, organisations still need accountants and they are less likely to lose their jobs. By being an online accountant can work for organisations globally, irrespective of where you live.
Accountants can choose the type of company that they want to work for, the industry and also their specialisation depending on their interests, qualifications and strengths. The role also requires candidates to keep learning and upskilling so that they are up to date with the latest accounting practices and legal compliances. It is an ideal career choice for people who like to work in fast-paced and challenging environments.
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