The Accounting Industry: Jobs, Skills, Trends and Job Outlook
The Accounting and Auditing sector encompasses a broad range of activities, including bookkeeping (for businesses and private individuals), administrative and tax-related tasks, and strategic and financial planning and control (for public and private companies).
Corporate accounting personnel (e.g. accounting clerks, assistants, managers and supervisors) are responsible for all of a company’s accounting records and documentation, including its general ledger, financial statements, journal entries, tax reports and statements, as well as all other related tax and administrative formalities.
Public accountants and tax advisors, meanwhile, provide companies and individuals with consultancy services on accounting and tax issues, maintain their clients’ accounts and prepare their tax returns, with the objective of reducing their tax bill and protecting their assets.
Typically, job vacancies in accounting and auditing are open to graduates in Business Management or other similar fields providing interdisciplinary training in economics, law, statistics and mathematics.
What types of businesses operate in the Accounting and Auditing sector?
Accounting specialists are often employed in accounting, consulting and auditing firms.
However, there are also job opportunities in the administration, finance and management control departments of small, medium and large-sized businesses and multinationals, as well as non-profit and public sector organizations.
Public accountants and tax advisors are often self-employed, whereas corporate accounting and administration personnel are typically company employees.
Companies hiring in the Accounting sector:
Accounting Industry - Trends and Job Outlook
The employment outlook in the Accounting industry is generally positive, with accounting and financial reporting skills and tax and legal expertise sought after by a wide range of companies.
Administration and accounting are key functions at both public and private companies because of the important role they play in ensuring administrative, tax and legal compliance.
As a result, vacancies for tax and accounting positions tend to be plentiful at companies of all types and sizes.
Another particularly in-demand position is auditor. Auditors are responsible for analysing companies’ internal administrative procedures and for providing assurance that a company’s financial statements and accounts truthfully and accurately reflect its operations and results. Among other things, the work of auditors helps to prevent fraud and financial misstatements.
Accounting and financial statements audits are performed by independent auditors and are a legal requirement for some types of company. Accordingly, there are excellent career prospects in this field.
What skills are required in the Accounting industry?
Auditing and accounting professionals require a wide range of administrative, organizational and analytical skills and competences.
In particular, job vacancies in the accounting and auditing sector require:
Accounting and business management skills
Anybody working in accounting should be able to prepare financial statements, read and understand the accounts of privately-held and publicly-traded companies and public and non-profit organizations, prepare tax documents (e.g. tax returns) and have an extensive knowledge and understanding of cost accounting and the principles of corporate finance.
Mathematical and statistical skills
Posting accounting entries, preparing budgets, carrying out planning and control activities, paying and issuing invoices, and preparing estimates and calculating final costs, requires strong calculation, statistical and mathematical skills.
Knowledge of accounting software
A familiarity with IT systems, spreadsheets and management applications is a key skill for all accounting professionals. A wide range of software applications exists, designed for use by both corporate accounts departments and public accountants and dealing with all types of tax and accounting activities, including general ledger and treasury, accounts, inventory, invoices and orders, personnel and payroll.