6 Types of Accountants and Their Role in the Professional World

Accountants play an essential role in the finance industry. They work in diverse companies and perform various financial responsibilities. Accounting is a vast field, and different types of accountants are required to perform a wide variety of tasks in this industry.

An accountant can occupy different positions in a business. They may work in entry-level job roles or as senior officers based on their qualifications and years of experience. They contribute to the success of a business by performing basic financial functions or designing financial or investment strategies that are crucial to the growth of a business. They also often manage the legal aspects of the financial department of a business or organization.  

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The job outlook for accountants in the US is excellent. They are already in high demand in different states, and the demand is expected to grow. Moreover, this has led many companies to offer competitive salaries to recruit excellent professionals in the field. Competent accountants have plenty of career growth opportunities all over the US. Therefore, accounting can be a promising career for many. 

If you want to work as an accountant, getting a bachelor’s degree in accounting, management, or finance is the first step of the process. 

The master’s degree required for accountant planning to pursue a specialized accounting role can be in forensic accounting, corporate accounting, government accounting, or investment accounting. With this, in the professional world, accountants play a crucial role in maintaining financial stability and ensuring regulatory compliance; click here to learn more about their indispensable contributions.

In this article, we are going to discuss the various types of accountants and their roles in the professional world.

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1. Government Accountant

Government accountants work in various local, state, or federal government agencies or organizations. They are responsible for keeping confidential information a secret and are more strictly regulated than other types of accountants.

The main duties of a government accountant include:

  • Auditing private documents or tax reports
  • Maintaining financial records of various government bodies
  • Managing government funds and resources 

Government accountants are often paid less than their counterparts working in private institutions. However, government accountants receive several other perks that compensate for their lower salaries. Some of the perks of being a government accountant are access to better education, free healthcare, and retirement benefits.

2. Public Accountant

Public accountants deal with the finances of a business or a person. They ensure that the financial records, statements, and filings are correct. They stay updated about tax codes and regulations because they often manage taxes and prepare financial reports for their clients. Public accountants can become leaders in their field based on their management and leadership skills.

They use the best practices in accounting and apply their skills to maintain industry-standard frameworks. Public accountants should have excellent interpersonal skills to deal with clients.

Public accountants can also work for small or large accounting firms dealing with external clients. Smaller firms provide accounting services to local businesses, and larger firms provide their services to multinational companies.

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3. Forensic Accountant

Forensic accountants recover or reconstruct difficult-to-obtain financial data. They possess exceptional investigative skills to uncover financial fraud. They are knowledgeable about accounting principles and finance-related laws. Forensic accountants investigate trade make infringement, expropriations, construction claims, hidden assets in divorce cases, and many similar frauds and embezzlement cases. 

Forensic accountants must be collaborative, highly communicative, and resourceful problem solvers to thoroughly investigate and collect financial data. 

They are usually employed by law firms, legislative bodies, or government agencies like the IRS or FBI. Forensic accountants can also work as self-employed accountants on a contract basis with insurance companies, private entities, and other corporations.

4. Corporate Accountant

Corporate accountants manage the financial data and file taxes of a company. They ensure that their company’s finance department is tax compliant. Traditional accounting methodologies help corporate accountants maintain financial records and ensure that tax submissions fulfill all the rules and standards. 

Some common accounting principles include Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), Internal Revenue Code (IRC), and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).

Corporate accountants can work for different corporations to maintain financial statements, file taxes, and prepare external reports. 

5. Investment Accountant

Investment accountants manage the assets, investments, and taxes of their clients. They also assess how their client’s assets and investments can impact taxes. Another role of an investment accountant is to keep their client updated about any investment opportunities. Additionally, they ensure that their client’s financial reports are per state regulations. 

They may design financial strategies for their clients too. Investment accountants usually work with asset management firms or investment brokerage houses.

Investment accountants are knowledgeable about different aspects of economics and finance. They may require additional licensing other than educational qualifications to practice in some states of the US. The average salary of an investment accountant in the US, according to PayScale, is $67,796. They may also receive yearly bonuses and share profits.  

6. Project Accountant

Project accountants prepare and collect invoices, avoid expenses, plan and maintain the budget for a project, approve the billable hours of others, and ensure that a specific project meets the deadline. They basically oversee all the financial efforts involved in a project and may even supervise a team of junior accountants.

Project accountants work on specific projects on a contract basis. They may also work as long-term employees in an organization on different long-term projects. However, sometimes a great working relationship for a single contractual project may lead to repeated work and referrals. 

Most project accountants are knowledgeable about risk management, cost accounting, auditing, and more. They must also possess strong interpersonal and communication skills to manage teams. Project accountants are in demand and can earn a handsome salary along with yearly benefits and profit-sharing in some organizations.  

The Wrap Up

Accountants are essential for the success of any organization. They perform basic financial tasks, from recording financial data to filing taxes. They can also perform specialized tasks like investing in opportunities on behalf of their clients. Accounting is a promising field of work with stable career growth, competitive salary, and job stability.

After a bachelor’s degree in accounting, you may pursue a master’s to work in specialized accounting roles like investment, corporate, project, government, forensic, and public accounting. Hopefully, this article has helped you understand the various types of accountants and their roles in the professional world.