Accountant Life

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Career: Accountant/Auditor

A Day in the life of a Accountant/Auditor
Accountants keep track of payments, financial positions, and transfers of capital or income for individual or institutional clients. Some are responsible for examining the tax implications of those actions. Accountants must be comfortable with numbers, but must also spend a considerable amount of time reviewing other people’s work and, in particular, delivering bad news. As a “financial physician” (a term that cropped up more than once in our surveys), you’ll be the bearer of unpleasantness more often than blessings, and can expect to be greeted, at times, in a less-than-friendly fashion. People who enter accounting mention this stigma as the most unanticipated downside of the profession. “I didn’t know how many people just don’t pay attention to their own numbers,” wrote one frustrated internal auditor, “and how defensive people are when they’re wrong.” An average internal auditor spends a surprisingly small (35) percent of her time on paperwork, document review, and (usually computerized) accounting procedures, while the remainder is spent either on the phone, traveling to different locations, or meeting with executives, clients, representatives, and other divisional auditors. Tax accountants face a somewhat different lifestyle from auditors and general accountants. Personal income tax accountants, mostly employed at small firms (80 percent of all income tax firms employ five or fewer people) or self-employed, are responsible for tracking clients’ income, making any quarterly payments due to federal or state agencies, then managing the crush of activity preparing and submitting all required paperwork to the federal and state governments on April 15. Corporate tax accountants, however, are involved throughout the year in corporate decision-making, analyzing the tax effects of corporate investment policy, and advising other company managers on tax-planning issues. Corporate tax accountants...
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