As business becomes more and more global, and complexities continue to emerge, certain fields have gained prominence in today’s career market. One of these is accounting. Accounting is a very conceptual career or task, more a question of information handling than any hands-on approach to product development. However, as trends change, accounting is becoming a little more diverse and less just a question of ‘crunching numbers’. So, why does a business need an accountant?
These days, there are specific kinds of accountants who do separate jobs as part of a given company. There are accountants who monitor spending and resource use; these are called ‘audit’ accountants. Then there are other professionals who use accounting information to guide procedures and to facilitate decision-making, and these are referred to as ‘management’ accountants.
One could say that while audit accountants are involved in bookkeeping history, management accounting is a process of looking to the future to try to foresee events and plan for these in terms of a company’s resources. ‘Ledgers’ and classic ideas of accounting belong more to audit accounting, while management accounting deals directly with the machinery of a firm. Both positions require people skills and analytical skills; both types of accountants need to know how to use computers. Spreadsheet software like Microsoft Excel is popular in keeping accounting information available in a flexible format.
As to the issue of how the two are related, audit accounting is often considered more essential to small businesses. A small business may not need any more oversight than the owner or general manager can provide, but someone always had to keep the books. Also, in management, the old adage may apply that ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’. Management accounting seems to be a more useful role in large companies that need many consultants to micro-manage a variety of projects.
In general, accounting is becoming a popular career choice. Some may shy away from it due to an aversion to how accountants have been described in the past. Some people ‘don’t like numbers’ and consider accounting work to be unbearably dry or tedious. Others, however, have already completed their degree to become a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) and these may find themselves well placed in high-profile audit accounting positions. For others, management accounting provides a new look at a classic career.
Either way, the study of this valuable field can be a good way to get into a certain kind of company. Many companies are hiring temporary accountants, and the abundance of opportunities means that employers and university graduates may be able to find each other through the phenomenon of accounting, as the majority of businesses turn their efforts toward the study of resource allocation, asset management, or more simply, crunching numbers.