But what does it do and in what context? What are its specializations and qualities? We will approach the subject to answer these questions.
Accountant’s work context
The accountant can wear different caps depending on the structure in which he is located. In small companies, he is in charge of recording the accounting operations, establishing the payslips of the employees, and carrying out the tax and social declarations of the company. He also provides analytical accounting, monitors the company’s cash flow, and closes the annual accounts.
Accounting in large companies is more complex and often requires more than one accounting position. In this case, the activities of the accountant depend on his specialization. It can be responsible for customer accounts, suppliers.
He can also be specialized in social matters (in particular payroll management), or accounting and tax monitoring. He may also be required to advise project leaders in their financial, legal, and fiscal choices. He carries out feasibility studies for them and accompanies them to support their case before bankers or investors.
In the firm, the accountant manages a portfolio of clients for whom he provides administrative, accounting, social, and tax monitoring. It can intervene for very diverse structures, whether by their legal status, their size, and their economic environment.
He is faced with a multitude of issues. It is for these reasons that companies appreciate people who have experience in law firms. The perspectives of evolution as a chef de mission are frequent.
The different versions of the accounting profession
This position is characterized by the versatility of the profession. The single accountant is responsible for keeping current accounts in general and analytical accounts. It processes data, establishes legal documents such as the annual balance sheet, profit and loss accounts, cash management, preparation of tax declarations, as well as management of payslips. It analyzes the situation as a whole and determines the budget forecasts as well as the control procedures. He is in direct contact with customers to answer questions related to the management of their activities. He often works with an accounting assistant who performs data entry operations.
He works under the direction of the accounting manager or the administrative and financial director depending on the company. He is responsible for processing and controlling the accounts for sales and collection operations. He is directly responsible for billing and customer follow-up. It deals with disputes and unpaid bills and implements the control tools necessary to reduce the payment period. The accountant is in contact with the commercial services to improve the customer relationship, to anticipate disputes. It creates a reporting of elements for general accounting.
Like the client accountant, he works under the direction of the accounting manager or the administrative and financial director depending on the company. He specializes in the accounting treatment of purchasing operations. He collects supplier invoices from the various departments to codify them, to verify them, then enter them in the accounting journals. Besides, it pays suppliers and monitors payment schedules and disputes. He analyzes and justifies the accounts (CCA, FNP, inventory entries). He participates, even establishes monthly, quarterly and annual closings in certain cases Finally, he calculates and declares the VAT.
Accountant specialist in collections
His role is to collect the payments of unpaid invoices, he reminds customers in writing and by telephone, to collect the payments while maintaining as much as possible a privileged contact with the creditors. He follows the recovery, the management of the planning, and the schedule of reminders. If necessary, he prepares litigation files and manages formal notices.
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Qualities and skills
The accountant must love the numbers of course! Loving numbers does not mean being a math genius. On the other hand, it is strongly advised to have great connivance with the figures. Indeed, these will be for years his daily work companions. However, it is difficult to work for a long time with tools that you do not like.
Accounting requires great rigor and good organization. An accountant should not be creative, but on the contrary, be well-grounded in reality, have a great practical and organizational sense. He must be able to produce very precise work and deliver it on schedule. Good stress management is necessary and the principle of prudence must govern the way he approaches his work.
Having a good relationship is essential, to be able to communicate internally with other services (sales, purchasing, management, HR), but also externally with official bodies, customers, financial partners. Regarding the accountant specialist in recovery. he must be pugnacious and be persistent, know how to be firm while being diplomatic. He must also know how to adapt his technical language (financial jargon) to laypeople. A popularized and educational approach is sometimes necessary depending on the professional context.
All his interpersonal skills are an asset for his professional progress Social skills are just as important, especially according to the hierarchical level targeted.
Depending on the level of responsibility, the accountant must be comfortable expressing himself in public, leading a team, or even using diplomacy in situations of inevitable conflict sooner or later in professional life. Management courses would, therefore, make perfect sense for evolution towards positions of chief accountant, administrative and financial director according to his initial training and his experience.