Quick Facts: Accountants and Auditors
Accountant and Auditors 2016 Median Pay - $68,150 per year - $32.76 per hour
The median pay is the wage at which half of the workers in this occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data is sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics survey. In May 2016, the median annual wage for all workers was $37,040.
Typical Entry-Level Education - Bachelor's Degree
This refers to the typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.
Work Experience in a Related Occupation – None
This is the work experience that is commonly considered necessary by employers, or is a commonly accepted substitute for more formal types of training or education.
On-the-job Training - None
This refers to additional training needed (post-employment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.
Number of Jobs, 2014 – 1,332,700
The employment, or size, of this occupation in 2014.
This is the base year of the 2014-24 employment projections.
Job Outlook, 2014-24: Increasing 11% (Faster than average)
The projected percent change in employment from 2014 to 2024. The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent. It appears accountant jobs will grow twice the average for all occupations.
Employment Change, 2014-24: Increasing 142,400
The projected numeric change in employment from 2014 to 2024.
The statistics above might be an indication of many new opportunities for accountants to come.
What Accountants and Auditors Do
In simple terms, accountants and auditors prepare and examine financial records. They ensure that financial records are accurate and that taxes are paid properly and on time. Accountants and auditors assess financial operations and work to help ensure that organizations run efficiently.
You will hire accountants and auditors typically to do the following:
(Pay close attention to the highlighted yes/no questions)
Many accountants and auditors specialize, depending on the organization they work for. Some work for organizations that specialize in assurance services (improving the quality or context of information for decision makers) or risk management (determining the probability of a misstatement on financial documentation). Other organizations specialize in specific industries, such as healthcare.
The following are examples of types of accountants and auditors you may hire, depending on your type of business:
Public accountants perform a broad range of accounting, auditing, tax, and consulting tasks. Their clients include corporations, governments, and individuals.
Public accountants work with financial documents that clients are required by law to disclose. These include tax forms and balance sheet statements that corporations must provide potential investors. For example, some public accountants concentrate on tax matters, advising corporations about the tax advantages of certain business decisions or preparing individual income tax returns.
Public accountants, many of whom are Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), generally have their own businesses or work for public accounting firms. Publicly traded companies are required to have CPAs sign documents they submit to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), including annual and quarterly reports.
Some public accountants specialize in forensic accounting, investigating financial crimes such as securities fraud and embezzlement, bankruptcies and contract disputes, and other complex and possibly criminal financial transactions. Forensic accountants combine their knowledge of accounting and finance with law and investigative techniques to determine if an activity is illegal. Many forensic accountants work closely with law enforcement personnel and lawyers during investigations and often appear as expert witnesses during trials.
Management accountants, also called cost, managerial, industrial, corporate, or private accountants, record and analyze the financial information of the organizations for which they work. The information that management accountants prepare is intended for internal use by business managers, not by the general public.
Management accountants often work on budgeting and performance evaluation. They also may help organizations plan the cost of doing business. Some may work with financial managers on asset management, which involves planning and selecting financial investments such as stocks, bonds, and real estate.
Government accountants maintain and examine the records of government agencies and audit private businesses and individuals whose activities are subject to government regulations or taxation. Accountants employed by federal, state, and local governments ensure that revenues are received and spent in accordance with laws and regulations.
Internal auditors check for mismanagement of an organization’s funds. They identify ways to improve the processes for finding and eliminating waste and fraud. The practice of internal auditing is not regulated, but The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) provides generally accepted standards.
External auditors perform similar duties as internal auditors, but are employed by an outside organization, rather than the one they are auditing. They review clients’ financial statements and inform investors and authorities that the statements have been correctly prepared and reported.
Information technology auditors are internal auditors who review controls for their organization’s computer systems, to ensure that the financial data comes from a reliable source.
** Do you know if your accountant’s specialized background matches up to the needs of your business?
Accountants and auditors held about 1.3 million jobs in 2014. The largest employers of accountants and auditors were as follows:
Most accountants and auditors work in offices, although some work from home. The work tends to be fast-paced and can be stressful. Although they complete much of their work alone, they sometimes work in teams with other accountants and auditors. Accountants and auditors such as Accounting Solutions Partners will travel to a clients’ business.
** Does your current accountant travel to your place of business for your convenience?
Most accountants and auditors work full time. In 2014, about 1 in 5 worked more than 40 hours per week. Longer periods of work are typical at certain times of the year, such as at the end of the budget year or during tax season.
** During these peak times of the year, does your current accountant achieve the same level of timeliness, accuracy, communication and support? (Regardless of where they are on your staff as an employee or an outsourced contractor.)
In regard to the 11 highlighted yes/no questions, the expected answer for each is: “Yes”. In the coming months, use this as a reference guide to evaluate your accountant.
If you have already evaluated your current bookkeeper(s) and/or accountant(s) and believe it is time to consider a change, we would be happy to have a conversation with you to talk about your needs.
It is possible that you may need specialized support to supplement your current team. Since our accounting team travels to your place of business, they can support your current team as your business grows.
Contact Eric Moore here.
For your convenience, we have summarized the questions above into a PDF. You can download it here to print and share with your team:
30 Minute Accountant Evaluation PDF Here >
Experts sharing tips about business, money, taxes...
to support your mission and improve profits.