What Does An Accountant Do (including Their Typical Day at Work)

Stan T.Career, Overview

Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Accountants

Accountants analyze financial information and prepare financial reports to determine or maintain record of assets, liabilities, profit and loss, tax liability, or other financial activities within an organization.

Salary
$81660
Becoming One
Hard
Education
Bachelor's degree
Job Satisfaction
Job Growth

Personality
Interest Match





Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.Confucius

What they do

Accountants analyze financial information and prepare financial reports to determine or maintain record of assets, liabilities, profit and loss, tax liability, or other financial activities within an organization.

  • Maintain or examine the records of government agencies.
  • Develop, maintain, and analyze budgets, preparing periodic reports that compare budgeted costs to actual costs.
  • Prepare, examine, or analyze accounting records, financial statements, or other financial reports to assess accuracy, completeness, and conformance to reporting and procedural standards.
  • Review accounts for discrepancies and reconciles differences.

Typical day

On a daily basis, Accountants analyze business operations, trends, costs, revenues, financial commitments, and obligations to project future revenues and expenses or to provide advice. They review accounts for discrepancies and reconcile differences.

A typical day for an Accountant will also include:

  • Prepare forms and manuals for accounting and bookkeeping personnel and direct their work activities.
  • Prepare, examine, or analyze accounting records, financial statements, or other financial reports to assess accuracy, completeness, and conformance to reporting and procedural standards.
  • Maintain or examine the records of government agencies.
  • Develop, implement, modify, and document recordkeeping and accounting systems, making use of current computer technology.
  • Prepare to adjust journal entries.

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Accountants also develop, maintain, and analyze budgets, preparing periodic reports that compare budgeted costs to actual costs. They may also advise management about issues such as resource utilization, tax strategies, and the assumptions underlying budget forecasts.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Accountants prepare to adjust journal entries. They might also report to management regarding the finances of the establishment.

In addition, they compute taxes owed and prepare tax returns, ensuring compliance with payment, reporting, or other tax requirements.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them prepare, examine, or analyze accounting records, financial statements, or other financial reports to assess accuracy, completeness, and conformance to reporting and procedural standards.

To some Accountants, it is also their responsibility to review accounts for discrepancies and reconcile differences.

Freedom to make decisions

How much decision making freedom does this job offer?

No freedom
0%

Very little freedom
6%

Limited freedom
9%

Some freedom
19%

A lot of freedom
66%

Structured vs unstructured work

To what extent is this job structured for you versus allowing you to determine your own tasks, priorities, and goals?

No freedom
0%

Very little freedom
0%

Limited freedom
6%

Some freedom
17%

A lot of freedom
77%


Featured Schools


What is the job like

Job satisfaction

High

Is this job meaningful

Low

71% said they were satisfied with their job and 38% said they found their job meaningful.


As a Financial Accountant, I ensure that the organization is complying with regulatory requirements by completing returns and producing financial statements. This means I take all of the financial information that has been input onto the accounting system and turn that data into a meaningful set of accounts that the reader can understand. I don’t … Read More


My daily job differs slightly from general CPAs because I also have to account for running the business and taking care of those duties. With that being said, my general tasks include liaising with potential and existing clients, investors, etc, discussing work and projects with employees, organizing and updating account records, analyzing transactions, forecasting revenue … Read More


Elias Savion Advertising

I’m the accounting manager at Elias Savion Advertising and I really enjoy what I do. I have always enjoyed working with numbers, analyzing financial statements, and playing around in Excel. Therefore, working in accounting has offered me an opportunity to do what I enjoy and to use all of these skills in my daily work. … Read More


A normal workday would depend on what time of the year/month it is. This time of year, we are working on finalizing all of the year-end related close items and getting ready for our own internal audit. How big your organization dictates how much of the financials you’ll have an impact on. With very large corporate … Read More


I work in corporate accounting for a big company. We have a monthly close cycle that takes up about 10 business days each month. I prepare journal entries, and I do a lot of reporting for other people in the company, consisting of the monthly results. In addition to the monthly close process, we have … Read More


Pros

Suitable for people who like to follow routines.

Suitable for people who value achievements and are results-oriented.

This career is perfect for people who love to work indoors.

Very good salary.

Normal working hours (40 hours per week).

Cons

Not suitable for people who like to work with designs.

It is hard to get into this career. A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for this career.

How much do they make

Average salary

$81660 per year

Average hourly wage

$39 per hour

Entry-level Accountants with little to no experience can expect to make anywhere between $45,220 to $57,110 per year or $22 to $27 per hour.

Salary by experience Annual Hourly
Highest (Top 10%) $128,680 $62
Senior (Top 25%) $97,530 $47
Median $73,560 $35
Junior (Bottom 25%) $57,110 $27
No experience (Bottom 10%) $45,220 $22

This table shows the top 10 highest paying industries for Accountants based on their average annual salary.

Salary by industry Annual Hourly
Computer and Peripheral Equipment Manufacturing $112680 $54.17
Federal Executive Branch $105980 $50.95
School and Employee Bus Transportation $105060 $50.51
Securities, Commodity Contracts, and Other Financial Investments and Related Activities $102020 $49.05
Other Information Services $99810 $47.99
Monetary Authorities-Central Bank $97590 $46.92
Local Messengers and Local Delivery $96610 $46.45
Pipeline Transportation of Crude Oil $94880 $45.62
Inland Water Transportation $94330 $45.35
Software Publishers $93670 $45.03

View more salary by industries here.

Where can they work

Where can Accountants work? Here is a table showing the top 10 largest employers of Accountants including the average salary in that industry.

Employers Total Employed Annual Salary Hourly Wages
Accounting, Tax Preparation, Bookkeeping, and Payroll Services 339020 $85050 $40.89
Management of Companies and Enterprises 97250 $82770 $39.79
Local Government 46060 $71420 $34.33
State Government 41780 $68460 $32.91
Real Estate 36180 $78370 $37.68
Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services 35060 $85430 $41.07
Credit Intermediation and Related Activities 31610 $84130 $40.45
Securities, Commodity Contracts, and Other Financial Investments and Related Activities 31450 $102020 $49.05
Computer Systems Design and Related Services 24080 $89350 $42.96
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools 22710 $69110 $33.23

What is the work day like

Working hours

Less than 40 hours
18%

40 hours
43%

More than 40 hours
39%

Working schedule

94%

6%

0%

Work with group or team

How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?

Not important at all
16%

Fairly important
17%

Important
6%

Very important
5%

Extremely important
56%

Deal with external customers

How important is it to work with customers in this job?

Not important at all
10%

Fairly important
11%

Important
6%

Very important
25%

Extremely important
48%

Manage or lead others

How important is it to coordinate or lead others in completing work activities in this job?

Not important at all
21%

Fairly important
22%

Important
15%

Very important
12%

Extremely important
29%

Email

How often do you use email in this job?

Once a week
0%

Every day
99%

Telephone

How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?

Once a week
11%

Every day
89%

Group discussions

How often do you have group discussions in this job?

Once a week
42%

Every day
58%

Public speaking

How often does this job require you to do public speaking?

Never
33%

Once a year
54%

Once a month
7%

Once a week
6%

Every day
0%

Frequency of conflict situations

How often are there conflict situations in this job?

Never
34%

Once a year
10%

Once a month
31%

Once a week
21%

Every day
3%

Dealing with angry people

How often do you have to deal with angry, unpleasant, or discourteous individuals in this job?

Never
1%

Once a year
81%

Once a month
12%

Once a week
7%

Every day
0%

Dealing with physically aggressive people

How often do you have to deal with physically aggressive people in this job?

Never
97%

Once a year
3%

Once a month
0%

Once a week
0%

Every day
0%

Level of competition

How much competitive pressure is in this job?

Not competitive at all
19%

Slightly competitive
15%

Moderately competitive
32%

Highly competitive
25%

Extremely competitive
9%

Repetition in this job

How important is repeating the same type of task over and over in this job?

Not important at all
0%

Fairly important
17%

Important
13%

Very Important
10%

Extremely Important
61%

Impact of decisions on co-workers or company results

What results do your decisions usually have on other people or the reputation or financial resources of your employer?

No impact
1%

Minor impact
9%

Moderate impact
7%

Important impact
12%

Very important impact
70%

Frequency of decision making

How frequently do you have to make decisions that affect other people, the financial resources, and/or the reputation of the company?

Never
6%

Once a year
10%

Once a month
10%

Once a week
21%

Every day
53%

Responsibility for others’ health and safety

How much responsibility is there for the health and safety of others in this job?

No responsibility
38%

Limited responsibility
9%

Moderate responsibility
29%

High responsibility
3%

Very high responsibility
21%

Responsibility for outcomes and results

How much responsibility is there for the work outcomes and results of other workers?

No responsibility
25%

Limited responsibility
8%

Moderate responsibility
15%

High responsibility
23%

Very high responsibility
29%

What is the work environment like

Office-style environment

Indoors in an environmentally controlled condition

Never
5%

Once a year or more
3%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
1%

Every day
91%

Warehouse-style environment

Indoors in a non-controlled environmental condition such as a warehouse

Never
92%

Once a year or more
7%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
0%

Outdoors

Outdoors exposed to all weather conditions

Never
98%

Once a year or more
1%

Once a month or more
1%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
0%

Outdoors – Under Cover

Outdoors but under cover (e.g. structure with roof but no walls)

Never
100%

Once a year or more
0%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
0%

How to become one

Difficulty to become one

Hard
You will need a considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience. Careers in this difficulty category usually require a Bachelor’s degree and several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training. Similar careers include Database Administrators, Chemists, Art Directors, and Accountants.

Required level of education

What level of education do you need to perform the job?

Less than a High School Diploma
0%

High School Diploma or equivalent
0%

Post-Secondary Certificate
0%

Some College Courses
39%

Associate’s Degree or similar
14%

Bachelor’s Degree
42%

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate
1%

Master’s Degree
3%

Post-Master’s Certificate
0%

First Professional Degree
0%

Doctoral Degree
0%

Post-Doctoral Training
0%

Relevant work experience

How much related work experience do you need to get hired for the job?

None
8%

1 month
0%

1 to 3 months
0%

3 to 6 months
0%

6 months to 1 year
22%

1 to 2 years
7%

2 to 4 years
47%

4 to 6 years
6%

6 to 8 years
6%

8 to 10 years
2%

Over 10 years
2%

On The Job Training

How much on the job training do you need to perform the job?

None or short demonstration
8%

1 month
2%

1 to 3 months
23%

3 to 6 months
15%

6 months to 1 year
10%

1 to 2 years
40%

2 to 4 years
1%

4 to 10 years
0%

Over 10 years
0%

Should you become one

Best personality type for this career

The Organizer

People with this personality type likes to follow set procedures and routines. They prefer working with data and details more than with ideas.

The Builder
19%

People with The Builder personality type likes practical and hands-on work. They prefer working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.


The Thinker
43%

People with The Thinker personality likes to work with ideas that require an extensive amount of thinking. They prefer work that requires them to solve problems mentally.


The Artist
14%

People with The Artist personality likes to work with designs and patterns. They prefer activities that require self-expression and prefer work that can be done without following a clear set of rules.


The Helper
24%

People with The Helper personality type likes to work with people and in teams. They prefer work that allows them to build relationships with others.


The Leader
57%

People with The Leader personality likes to start and work on projects. They also like leading people and making many decisions.


The Organizer
100%

People with The Organizer personality type likes to follow set procedures and routines. They prefer working with data and details more than with ideas.


You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tend to like following set procedures and routines. They like working with data and details more than with ideas.

They also like starting up and carrying out projects. They like leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk-taking and often deal with business.

Take this quiz to see if this is the right career for you.

Work Values

Which values are the most important to a person’s satisfaction for this job?

Achievement
76%

You are someone who is results oriented. You prefer work that allows you to utilize your skills and abilities while at the same time giving you a sense of accomplishment.

Working Conditions
69%

You are someone who values job security, steady employment, and good working conditions. You also prefer work that keeps you busy all the time with something different to do every day.

Recognition
67%

You are someone who values job advancement and leadership roles. You prefer work that receives recognition for the work you do and jobs that are looked up to by others in the company and your community.

Relationships
71%

You are someone who likes to provide a service to others. You prefer a work environment where you can work with your co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Support
71%

You are someone who values a company that stands behind their employees. You prefer a work environment where everyone is treated fairly and is being supported by the company.

Independence
71%

You are someone who likes to work on your own and make your own decisions. You prefer work that requires little supervision and are allowed to try out your own ideas.

FAQ


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