Day in the life of
Financial Accountant – Gemma Roberts
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 have a typical day so much as a typical year. There’s an annual cycle to my job focused around the financial year-end of the Group. A substantial part of the role is focused on audit. The Group is externally audited on an annual basis but will last several months. This is where an independent team analyze, test and interrogate the information in the accounts we produce to ensure that they are giving a fair view of what actually happened during the year.
I’m working from home at the moment so it’s been great to have the flexibility to do the school run in the morning. I usually start the day with emails. Answering any audit queries that have come in and providing the evidence to back up my answers.
Today I was working on producing a set of Pension accounts. I start by liaising with each of the various accounts processing teams e.g. Accounting & Tax, Payroll, Purchase Ledger to ensure that all postings have been made to the accounting software. I then post any journal adjustments that I need to make such as accruals. I check that the general ledger account balances have been reconciled back to supporting evidence and the figures look reasonable compared to the prior year. I then run a trial balance and use this to prepare a set of accounts comprising the Trustee Report, Fund Account, Statement of Net Assets, notes to the accounts, etc. I then send a draft set of the accounts to the various external advisors used by the pension scheme for review and update. Finally, the audit visit will take place and the auditors review the accounts and review all supporting working papers. Once they are happy the accounts are approved by the Trustees and approved.
I had a run at lunchtime (for the first time actually!). Then I had a catch up over Teams with my manager to go through the work I had been doing. I finished off with working out some complex intercompany movements and reflecting that through the accounting system. There was also a lot of tea drinking!
Pros are that every day tends to be different which makes the role really varied and interesting. Here are examples of just some of the work: researching new accounting standards and understanding how we apply that to the business and accounting software, working with the Finance Business Partners to provide them with information for Budgets and Forecasts, producing sets of accounts, working with auditors to provide explanations and information, presenting accounts at Board Meetings, providing finance training to the business, producing financial reports for other business areas, liaising with Company Secretary on Board Resolutions and providing information for Board Meetings, submitting information to comply with regulatory body requirements, reviewing and submitting payments, making changes to the structure of the Group e.g. dissolving a company, increasing share capital, etc, improving financial processes.
I love a spreadsheet and there is plenty of opportunities to flex your Excel skills in this job!
I work with a great team, everyone is lovely. That is actually my favorite part of the job. We are really supportive of each other and that has been especially true during the pandemic. You always know that you can call on people in the team to help you. My manager was also really flexible while I had to homeschool my children AND work. I know other people haven’t been as lucky.
Although I work with numbers a lot (as a Maths geek that suits me perfectly), I enjoy the fact that there is still plenty of interaction with people across the business and externally.
Cons are that every year tends to be the same due to the cyclical nature of the work. The accounts are produced and audited annually. Most of the regulatory returns are also annual. That means that the role of a financial accountant tends to have a similar structure each year. E.g. Jan – Feb Produce accounts, Mar to April – audit of accounts, May – produce accounts for subsidiary A, Jun – submit information to regulatory body A and so on. Each piece of work is substantial and happens at the same time each year. However, there are always changes within the piece of work that keep the role varied and interesting e.g. an accounting standard has changed which means the way we produce the accounts changes slightly.
However, there is always something new and exciting happening. Often, the company structure changes or I will need to implement new accounting policies or the Board may have made a big decision that needs to be reflected in the financial information we produce.
Founder of The Work Life Blend, a personal finance website
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.