Do you really fancy working as a Chartered Accountant? Can you handle serious responsibilities? If the answer to those questions is yes, then you may just have what it takes to become a Chartered Accountant. Or do you?
It’s a huge responsibility, and with 4 + years expected in training, to gain your qualifications, you will need to know what you’re in for, so you don’t waste those precious years in training, only to find that you’ve trained for the wrong profession.
First off, you’re going to need to be in constant educational mode, so you can keep up to date with the latest news on UK taxation laws. A major part of being a Chartered Accountant is that your clients are going to want your advice on tax issues, so they can make savings wherever they can.
You’ll also be responsible for handling their tax returns, and if that’s filed with the HMRC late, it’s your client who receives the fine. That’s one of the many reasons you have to be trustworthy, and work with an ability to meet deadlines.
Dealing with taxation legislations is a complex issue in itself, and that’s only part of the responsibilities a CA has, to be able to assist their clientele.
Secondly… Your ability to analyse financial accounts needs to be spot on. You are going to be required to carry out periodic audits of company accounts, and record your findings on the financial information systems, used by the company you’re working with.
This isn’t the old method of pen and paper.
Computer skills will be needed, and that can sometimes involve using sophisticated accounting software, to manage the informational recording of financial data. Part of that data will also consist of future predictions. You’ll need to be aware of how business works, and often have to advise on the financial implications of any business decisions, made by corporate directors. While this is a discretionary service, and usually handled by Chartered Management Accountants, clients aren’t always aware of this. That’s why they’ll seek your professional advice, although you can advise them if the workload is becoming more business advisory, that the services of a CMA may be more applicable, to their needs.
The important thing is that you’ll be responsible for providing your clients, with sound, reliable, and professional financial advice.
This is where your job role takes on a serious responsibility to the accounts of your clients.
Forensic accounting is necessary for fraud prevention. It’s why there’s periodic account audits carried out, to check for any discrepancies.
Any issues that arise through your audits need to be addressed promptly. Addressing issues like this, requires you to liaise with the appropriate personnel. For the most part this is going to be managers, managing directors and CEOs, although for larger organisations with different financial departments, you’ll need to liaise with the appropriate person responsible for the budget allocations.
Therefore, communication is going to be an essential component of being a competent Chartered Accountant. During your communication, another key aspect that you’ll need to convey, both in your meetings and in your financial data recording will pertain to risk management. It’s not always going to be glossy with profitable accounts, and crystal-clear bookkeeping. There’s going to be times when companies have their budgets stretched so thin, they can barely cover their employees’ wages. In those times, it’s the role of the Chartered Accountant to offer advice, and perhaps deal with the corporate finance side of the business. This can see you dealing with insolvency issues, managing business acquisitions and perhaps company mergers as well.
While being an accountant is a financially rewarding career, in terms of the accounting salaries you can achieve, there are ups and downs to the job role. The good times will see you assisting businesses further improve on their net profits, while on the downside… if a Chartered Accountant offers negligible financial advice to a company, the implications could be disastrous. It’s not everyone who is cut out to manage that level of responsibility, and the people who can, can make a real impact on small business, helping them expand, as well as assuring that larger corporations maximise their profitability.