Using their knowledge, skills and expertise, accountants work in all business sectors, both public and private. They give professional advice to organisations on a variety of strategic, commercial and financial issues. Here, we take a closer look at what it means to be a chartered accountant.
What do chartered accountants do?
ICAEW Chartered Accountants are recognised around the world as being highly qualified professionals. Regardless of where they work, however large or small the challenge, chartered accountants are known for their ability to deliver the highest professional standards. As a chartered accountant, you can work across a diverse range of specialist financial areas including reporting, taxation, forensic accounting, business recovery and insolvency.
The skills that a ICAEW Chartered Accountant possess are valuable to businesses of all kinds. They often work in strategic positions that affect the direction and success of the organisations they work with.
Depending on the area you choose to specialise in, typical tasks could include;
- Continuous management of financial systems and budgets
- Undertaking financial audits – an independent check of a company’s financial position
- Liaising with clients to provide financial information and advice
While technical knowledge is vital, it is also about being able to understand key business challenges: solving problems, finding answers, analysing information and interpreting facts and figures to make business recommendations.
Chartered accountancy involves more interaction with people than you may think. You’ll need to be able to communicate your expertise to colleagues, managers and clients in an easy to understand way.
Types of accountancy
There are two main types of accountancy – financial and management consultancy
Many graduates entering the accountancy profession will do so through financial accountancy, working in professional services or public practice.
Financial accountants provide information for the use of people external to a company, including shareholders, investors and creditors. Financial accountants focus more on the summarising of a company’s current position. They report on a company’s profitability, liquidity, solvency and stability.
Some specialisms within financial accountancy include:
- Audit and assurance
- Business advisory
- Business recovery and insolvency
- Corporate finance and risk management
- Forensic accounting
In management accountancy, the emphasis is on forward planning and the achievement of financial goals. They provide financial information internally within an organisation and often have roles such as financial analyst. Management accountants may work on specific one-off projects, such as analysing the costs and projected benefits of a new product and producing a report for management.