All industries have need of an accountant and the same is true of the travel industry. In this industry, a trust accountant is in charge of making sure that monies paid in advance for trips are deposited into a trust account. The accountant has to make sure that the travel agent or the airline does not own this money until the travel actually takes place. Should the customer cancel the reservation, the accountant has to ensure that the customer receives the full refund or the amount due, less fees, which is agreed upon at the time of the reservation.
A trust accountant has to maintain accurate records of all the transactions of the bookings. This includes the receipts, disbursements and the profit or loss to the company. These financial amounts must be the same as the bank deposits because both the banking and accounting records need to be reconciled at the end of the week or month and must match. These accounting records are also essential in cases where travel arrangements are made and the payments are made in increments or monthly payments so that the full amount is paid before the departure dates, such as in taking a cruise.
There is a lot of record keeping involved in the position of trust accountant. The accounting records must include details of the booking so that there is a receipt for all monies paid related to each booking. Periodically, the accountant has to prepare a financial statement providing the amount of profit or loss for the company as they apply to a given booking or event for which customers have paid the fees in full. The calculations should show the amount paid by the customers and the actual amount paid out by the travel company to the carrier. The difference between these two amounts will determine the amount of profit or the amount of loss. The transfer of funds from the trust account can only be made when the fees are paid in full. The financial records are subject to audit by an inspector on a regular basis. For this reason the accountant has to ensure that he/she keeps accurate records.
There is no specific certification required to become a trust accountant. However, the generally accepted certification is the CPA designation. In order to act as an accountant for a third party in all states, you do need to be licensed as a certified public accountant. You do need hold a Bachelor’s degree in accounting and have at least three years of experience working in both trust and general accounting to obtain this type of job. You do need to have excellent interpersonal skills as well as good oral and communication skills. Proficiency in using the computer and trust accounting software is essential to the job as well.
As a trust accountant you will be in charge of large amounts of money. It is very likely that an employer will require a full background check to ensure that you are trustworthy and able to perform the duties of this position.