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Career Story: Certified Public Accountant And Accounting Firm Manager

Certified Public Accountant And Accounting Firm Manager

Job Title: Certified Public Accountant, Manager

Type of Company: My firm performs audits and reviews of financial statements and prepares tax returns for clients in a variety of industries (primarily construction).

Education: AS, Business Management, Quincy Jr. College •• (Quincy, MA) •• BS, Accounting, Northeastern University

Previous Experience: I worked as an accounting manager for an engineering firm, a plumbing supply distributor and a manufacturer of parts used in appliances, automobiles and building construction. Before that, I worked as staff accountant for a picture frame importer.

Job Tasks: My primary responsibility is to perform audits and reviews of financial statements prepared by my firm's clients. Certain tests are performed on client accounting records to make sure that the information included in the financial statements is accurate. During this testing, I will ask company owners, managers and employees specific questions about their companies, including what the company does, which employees are responsible for what tasks, the company's strengths and weaknesses, and most importantly, whether the company's management, owners or employees are aware of any wrongdoing or illegal activity. This is extremely important because banks and other investors use the financial statements of many of these clients to decide whether they will lend money to or invest in these companies.

I am also responsible for preparing tax returns for companies and individual tax payers. But because of the amount of fraud that has been committed by some taxpayers -- companies and individuals both -- I have to make sure that my clients give me complete and accurate information by asking them the right questions when I prepare their tax returns.

I am also in charge of assisting my firm's owners in writing policies, managing other staff members, and reviewing the work done by those other staff members.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The part of my job which I consider to be the best is that I am never bored. My job is like having three careers at the same time. First, I am an accountant to my clients by assisting them with financial matters. Second, I am a teacher by constantly researching changes in accounting rules and tax laws and interpreting and educating my peers, including my boss, with my findings. Third, I am an investigator when I perform testing on my audit engagements and am responsible for seeing that my clients are in compliance with certain laws.

Job Tips: I would advise someone pursuing this career to research as many aspects of the accounting field as possible. There are many types of jobs in accounting and finance and their duties can vary tremendously.

Once you've made the decision to work in public accounting, work a couple of jobs in private accounting first to gain an understanding of what it is like to be on the client side of the audit.

When taking professional certification examinations, do not get discouraged if you need re-take them a couple of times, or even multiple times. It is very common for people to fail the first time out.

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