Accountancy is a language that translates across all businesses around the world. As finances are at the root of all businesses, it is arguable that accountants understand a business more than anyone.

Modern day accountants, therefore, are no longer just responsible for maintaining accounts and finances; now, they are considered to take on several roles throughout many departments within a business.

No longer are numerical skills enough; an accountant can hold responsibilities that include providing budgets, reporting on the company performance and collecting monies from external parties, meaning their role isn’t as explicit as initially perceived. Their professional position in the workplace can often take shape in several roles.

The many roles of the accountant

Traditional accountant

The most well-known role of the accountant is to control a company’s finances. Dependant on the size of the company, this can range from data collection and entry in smaller businesses, to recording, organising and reporting financial operations in larger businesses.

Accountants are also responsible for relaying relevant financial information to the public and consumers when required.

Internal auditors

The role of the ‘Big Four’ accountancy firms as external auditors for many large UK-based organisations has been questioned in recent years.

In 2018, the CMA (The Competition and Markets Authority) proposed that audits were to be performed more frequently for businesses, and that the choice of auditor should not be left down to the business. The CMA said “we have seen too much evidence of [businesses] picking those with whom they have the best ‘cultural fit’ or ‘chemistry’, rather than those who offer the toughest scrutiny” and therefore not providing the most accurate audit.

An accountant, however,  also plays the role of an internal auditor, so if the business falls into the crossfire of a particularly harsh audit, they are prepared. Ensuring tax forms are entered and returned correctly and that finances are in order are essential processes for a successful audit.

An analytical mindset combined with methodical business acuity can prove to be an invaluable asset to a business of any kind.

Business consultant

Using their analytical skills, accountants filter the successes and failures of a business based on previous endeavours and their outcomes. According to The Business Journals, an accountant can “take a comprehensive assessment of your finances and create a forecast through the year to keep your business at a healthy, prosperous state.” In combination with personal knowledge of a business, they are able to adopt and deliver a pragmatic approach to business strategies and operations. Through this it is then easier to identify good business opportunities and investments, and avoid potential losses.

In the face of environmental and societal change, an accountant shows their value by being able to maintain these strategic roles to a high standard, anticipating regulatory changes to avoid risks and identify opportunities.

MSc Strategic Accounting

As of September 2019, we will be offering the new MSc Strategic Accounting programme at our London campus. Combining preparation for the ACCA’s Professional Papers with skills development, this postgraduate programme offers you the opportunity to specialise in either Cyber Security or Data Analytics, and develop crucial skills that employers highly value.

The ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is an internationally-recognised association with over 208,000 members and 503,000 students worldwide. Its qualifications present opportunities to work in a multitude of accounting roles and put you in a strong position against opposing candidates.

To discuss this programme or find our more information, visit the course page, or enquire with our team who are always more than happy to help.

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