Jokes about mild-mannered accountants abound, and we are about to relay another, small one. If accounting represents your career track, however, the preparation of your resume is a serious undertaking. You may, therefore, find the following article concerning various forms of accounting and accountant functions to your benefit.
Riddle: How many company accountants does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Answer: Four. One removes and replaces the light bulb. Another calculates the cost of the new bulb. Yet another assigns the charge to a specific cost center. And finally, one more determines both the energy-savings as well as the loss of revenue incurred during the period without light.
Viewed as a riddle, the answer is admittedly lacking in jocularity. But perceived as a resume-writing tip, it is rich with inferences of sound advice for accountants. At their most elemental, the duties of every accountant are to analyze, review, verify, record, reconcile, and generate reports concerning a company’s debits and credits. Accounting, however, has its specialties and sub-specialties. In today’s economy, one must differentiate and highlight those areas of expertise on a resume, if one desires a more than better chance of securing interviews. For example…
Inventory accountants conduct and supervise audits of complex inventory in order to determine and report upon the valuation of stock (raw materials/supplies, sub-assembled products, and finished goods) as well as real property (company-owned warehousing facilities, capital equipment). The assessments of inventory accountants provide management with data required to make immediate and long-term business decisions, not limited to purchasing and selling strategies and planning of manufacturing and distribution operations.
Cost accountants evaluate and calculate costs that existing accounting systems and external audits sometimes do not provide. Such costs may include, for instance, royalties paid to parent companies, disbursement of customer rebates, and sales commissions paid out to global/overseas affiliates. Thus, the role of cost accountants is to deliver a means of tracking, more closely and accurately, how expenses are allocated and consumed. This branch of accounting also monitors and reports upon profit centers, to provide upper management with a balanced view of income versus operating costs.
Private accountants serve the private sector, primarily, individuals, estates, and businesses. In addition to monitoring a client’s incoming and outgoing cash flow, private accountants often prepare and file individual tax returns with both State (if applicable) and Federal governments. Part of a private accountant’s responsibility is to maintain knowledge of current tax legislation, for purposes of capitalizing upon those laws for his or her clients.
As the job title suggests, public accountants maneuver within publicly-owned corporations. Their record keeping and reporting functions facilitate analysis of a broad range of factors affecting corporate financial status, profitability, and operations. Results of this analysis will, in turn, support and validate budgeting/cost allocation, cost analysis, and even investment transactions.
Tax accountants determine tax responsibilities as well as potential tax issues, based upon analysis of a company’s or an individual’s assets, income, surpluses, liabilities, and expenditures, as well as information reported on tax records. This branch of accounting identifies and distributes funds to legally sanctioned tax shelters, in the financial interests of the clients. However, should the clients face charges due to non-compliance with tax legislation, these accountants also provide advisory services to the companies or individuals they represent.
Accountants maneuvering within automotive dealerships have their work cut out for them. As the product line represents high-ticket items whose manufacture, sale, and transfer is heavily regulated by governmental agencies, dealership accountants must assume the multiple duties of accountant-generalist, cost accountant, and inventory accountant. While number-crunchers in other industries are professionally bound to file/report their findings within certain timeframes, dealership accountants cannot, literally, afford to miss filing deadlines. Lapsed deadlines equate to revenue losses in terms of monetary incentives unclaimed and fines to be paid out to the governing bodies.
In all areas of the accounting profession, achievements or contributions to specific projects should be highlighted on accounting resumes. An employer always wants to know what a potential staff member can do for his organization. Presented as providers of specific forms of accounting, those who analyze, post, reconcile, and report and advise upon figures can thereby distinguish themselves among their competitors as worthy of interviews and gainful employment.
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