Accounting Tasks: Critical to Businesses' Health

Accounting, often called the ''language of business,'' refers to financial information that is published periodically in the form of profit and loss statements. Accountants record, classify, report, audit, and analyze companies’ financial data.

The practice of accounting is a highly skilled and technical profession. While the accounting requirements of businesses vary, accounting activities are critical to the smooth and effective functioning of any organization.

Accountants primarily maintain their organizations' financial books and cash flow and track their income and assets over time. Accountants' financial statements help business owners and stockholders assess their organizations' financial strengths and weaknesses. Their financial summaries communicate reasons for changes in the financial health of businesses to non-finance managers and help them make decisions.

Although businesses cannot make sound economic decisions without financial information, accountants maintain low profiles, and many of their vital tasks often remain unknown-even to company insiders.

Here is a general list of tasks performed by accountants:

  • recording and documenting financial transactions
  • reconciling accounts on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis
  • developing, implementing, revising, and documenting record-keeping and accounting systems
  • finding out how to evaluate and record the costs of products and how to assign costs to different departments and other organizational units of businesses
  • examining accounting records, financial statements, and other financial reports to assess accuracy, comprehensiveness, and conformance with reporting and procedural standards
  • analyzing business functions, trends, costs, revenue, and financial obligations
  • projecting revenue and expenses
  • evaluating cash flow and financial risks associated with capital-investment projects
  • performing financial investigations, undertaking audits, composing reports, and detecting fraud
  • providing assurance regarding the authenticity of information contained in financial reports and their adherence to statutory and government requirements
  • reporting to management regarding finances
  • computing taxes owed and preparing tax returns
  • preparing financial reports for presentation to boards of directors, members of management, creditors, shareholders, and statutory bodies on a regular basis or when requested
  • finding methods for running businesses more efficiently and economically
  • assisting in creating budgetary and accounting policies
  • developing, maintaining, and analyzing budgets
  • preparing periodic statements that compare budgeted costs to actual costs
  • advising management on matters such as the purchase and sale of businesses, mergers, capital financing, and insolvency
  • providing financial and taxation advice to management on business structures, plans, and operations
  • interacting with bankers and brokers to create fund-management arrangements
  • designing internal accounting controls to minimize errors in business records
  • creating, implementing, altering, and documenting accounting systems

On the net:Accounting Jobs and Degrees

Career Guide for Accountants

Occupation Information: Accountant

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