What Is a Financial Accountant? (With Duties and Salary)
Updated 19 March 2023
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Financial accountants prepare financial, tax and other legal documents for a business. They are responsible for creating statements such as the balance sheet, income statement and cash flow statement to report a company's financial performance. If you are skilled in working with numbers, a job as a financial accountant may be perfect for you. In this article, we discuss the details of this position, including duties, salary, requirements and skills and provide five steps for how to join this career field.
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What Is A Financial Accountant?
A financial accountant is a professional who is in charge of keeping financial records, preparing statements and interpreting financial data for a business. Primarily, they record, synthesise and present business operational transactions, like revenues, expenses, assets, liabilities and equities. They report this information in the balance sheet, income statement and cash flow statement, along with other documents. Financial accountants provide consistent, legible financial information to external authorities and stakeholders, such as investors, creditors, auditors, regulators and tax authorities.
Related: What Is an Accountant? Types and Career Advice
What Does A Financial Accountant Do?
A financial accountant's specific duties can vary based on their company. However, here are some of their typical responsibilities:
Prepare complex financial reports and submit them to the proper agencies
Supervise areas like payroll, taxes, budgeting and spending
Investigate financial discrepancies, errors or other issues
Solve or offer suggestions for solving any financial issues that arise
Offer advice to management on how to reduce costs
Conduct forecasting and risk analysis for the business
Collaborate with other financial professionals, including bookkeepers, clerks and accountants
Financial accounting vs. managerial accounting
Financial accountants create financial reports and file documents for a business. This involves conveying business information to external institutions to ensure the organisation adheres to legal regulations. These accountants may also use this information to express business performance to stakeholders. In contrast, managerial accounting is the process of analysing information for internal use and company benefit only. One type of managerial accounting is cost accounting, where a professional assesses a company's cost of production and profitability to find ways to reduce expenses.
Average salary for financial accountants
The average salary of a financial accountant is ₹19,281 per month. However, their salaries may vary based on their geographical location, company, years of experience, certifications and other factors. In general, financial accountants who complete more education and earn special credentials can negotiate for a higher salary. They also may pursue supervisory positions, which can come with more pay.
Related: How To Become An Assistant Accountant (Duties And Salary)
Financial accountant requirements
There are many factors that qualify a person to become a financial accountant, including:
Employers hiring for financial accountant positions usually require candidates to possess at least a bachelor's degree in accounting, finance, business administration or a related field. Students who study these areas gain a thorough knowledge of financial analysis, business organisation, financial laws, economics, banking and other topics. Here are some courses an accounting student may take in an undergraduate academic institution:
You might also consider pursuing a master's degree in accounting, finance, business administration, financial management or a related field. Earning a postgraduate degree can help you build valuable skills, expand your job prospects and increase your earning potential. It can also make you eligible for managerial positions in the accounting field.
Depending on the level of the position, employers may sometimes require candidates to have two to five years of experience in the accounting field. To get the required training, consider seeking entry-level jobs in accounting or business finance firms in positions such as:
For students completing their education, internships may be a great opportunity to develop practical skills and apply them in a real-world setting. Internships also enable students to network with more experienced accounting professionals who might help them find a job after graduation.
Certifications can verify your abilities and help you stand out among other candidates applying for the same role. For example, you could consider becoming a Certified Public Accountant. Offered by the Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Management Entrepreneurship and Professional Skill Council, this designation gives you recognition from global professional accounting bodies. To obtain it, you have to pass the CPA exam and gain expertise in financial reporting, auditing, taxation laws, business laws and financial management.
Related: Understanding the CFA Exam
Financial Accountant Skills
Financial accountants work in an interesting, dynamic field, and there are several abilities that can help them succeed in their roles. Here are some important skills of a financial accountant:
Analytical skills: Financial accountants are responsible for compiling financial data, preparing reports and paying attention to a business's financial performance. It is critical they can analyse information correctly to catch errors and solve any concerns they identify.
People skills: These accountants work with colleagues, supervisors and clients, so it is important they have strong people skills. Their friendliness and positivity can help them explain financial performance to stakeholders and meet client needs.
Communication skills: Those in this role need excellent written and verbal communication skills to compile clear, understandable and accurate reports. This is especially important with tax documents and other legal matters, as the liability of the company is at stake.
Mathematical skills: Financial accountants record, work with and present numbers on a daily basis. It is important they can calculate costs and other mathematical information correctly to ensure the accuracy of their work.
Computer skills: Accountants use computers to check the validity of their calculations, organise statements and complete many other tasks. It is beneficial if they can navigate computers efficiently and troubleshoot issues that may arise.
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How To Become A Financial Accountant
With the right planning and dedication, you can reach your goal of becoming a financial accountant. Here are some common steps for pursuing this career:
1. Complete education
Attend a college or university and pursue a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field. As much of accountant work is on the computer, there are many online schooling options available. To determine your educational path, consider researching open financial accountant positions in your area to determine their educational requirements.
2. Gain entry-level experience
It can be beneficial to gain entry-level experience in the accounting field before applying to a mid- or senior-level financial accountant position. Consider becoming a bookkeeper or accounting assistant to work under the supervision and guidance of an experienced accountant. Taking part in an internship can also be a great way to find a mentor in the field. After gaining skills and experience, you can apply with more qualifications and confidence to more advanced roles.
3. Earn certifications
Professional certifications can help you learn about specific areas and impress potential employers. You can earn certifications in your fields of interest to make yourself a more attractive job candidate. Consider the following specialities:
Auditing information technology
Personal financial planning
4. Perfect your resume
When you have built a notable professional background for yourself, update your resume. Make sure your resume highlights your top skills and experience. Include measurable results as much as possible to show hiring managers proof of your value as an employee. Consider giving it to a friend or trusted colleague to review so they can give you feedback on its format and readability.
5. Apply for jobs
Search for open financial accountant jobs. After identifying the positions you are most qualified for and want to apply for, consider using a spreadsheet to keep track of them. Perfect your resume and write a custom cover letter for each position. Then, apply to a group of positions at the same time. This way, if you hear back from many of them, you can have different options to decide between.
Related: Top 20 Finance Interview Questions and Sample Answers
Financial Accountant Work Environment
Financial accountants typically work in offices to conduct research and perform analysis on their computers. As this can be such a computer-oriented job, many accountants work from home offices. Those in this position may spend long periods of time sitting at a desk. However, they may occasionally travel to business sites to meet with clients, gather information and present financial data and business suggestions.
These professionals can work in a variety of industries. They may work for an accounting agency or an accounting department as part of a company. They may even work freelance or own their own companies. Most financial accountants work regular, full-time hours, but they might work overtime during busy periods of the year, like tax season and the end of the fourth quarter.
Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.
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.
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