Job Title: General Ledger Accountant
Type of Company: My company manages short-term and long-term care facilities.
Education: BA, Business Administration, Southern New Hampshire University MBA, Business Administration, Southern New Hampshire University
Previous Experience: I started as an associate accountant at a small tax accounting firm while finishing my master's degree.
Job Tasks: My responsibilities as a general ledger accountant are to prepare month-end journal entries, analyze financial statements and reconcile all balance sheet accounts. Month-end journal entries account for items such as pre-paid expenses, month-end accruals, bank recording fees and the reclassification of items that were incorrectly coded. Analyzing financial statements means looking at a profit-and-loss report to see how much money was received that month and how much was paid out. Having done this, we look to see if the company was under or over budget and why.
An example of a balance sheet account that we reconcile is "Cash." We take the bank statement and every bit of information that has a bearing on it and make sure that the balance we show matches the bank statement's balance. The daily activities are based on a month-end close. Each business day corresponds to what needs to be done for that day each month. Since the fiscal period closes on the ninth business day, this is when we need to have all of our journal entries in the system and then final reports are sent out to our facilities.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is that you get to see a whole picture of what accounting is and what makes up a financial statement. You have to do a lot of research and figure out why this account has changed or why this entry impacts others, etc. We get to see the whole picture of what a general ledger accountant does.
The worst part of the job can be the deadlines. During the nine day close period it can get stressful if you don't manage your time wisely.
1. Make sure that you are very detail-oriented and double-check your work. Once you make an entry and post it into the system, the only way to correct it is to make another entry.
2. When starting out in accounting look for a job where you can get the most experience with all kinds of accounts. It helps to know a lot about all aspects of the business and how they relate to accounting.
3. Make sure that the environment you are working in encourages you to continually learn and ask questions.
Additional Thoughts: The most important skills to have in this job are time management, attention to detail, and the ability to work independently with little direction.
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