Accountants, at the most basic level, manage the finances of companies, government groups, or individual clients. Accountants are responsible for bookkeeping, which includes tracking expenses and revenue, payroll, and bills. They prepare financial reports and analyze trends to make predictions that can guide the overall decisions of a company. They are also responsible for ensuring businesses or individuals properly comply with tax regulations. Accountants work with numbers on a day-to-day basis, which necessarily requires that they possess a strong understanding of math combined with an analytical mind. This also requires that accountants are detail-oriented critical thinkers who enjoy solving problems.
Accountants are detail-oriented critical thinkers who enjoy solving problems.
The educational requirements for becoming an accountant vary, but most accountants receive at least a 4-year bachelor’s. A smaller proportion of accountants (5%) receive only an associate’s degree. Some accountants become Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) by taking a licensing exam. The state boards generally require 150 semester credits from an accredited university, a bachelor’s degree, and a certain number of accounting and business courses before an accountant is eligible to take the CPA exam. There are a number of different types of jobs under the umbrella of accounting, including financial analysts, personal financial advisers, tax examiners, loan officers, budget analysts, auditors, and more.
Finding the right accounting candidates
Employers seeking to hire accountants often use the Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test (CCAT) to assess a candidate’s problem-solving abilities, critical thinking, and ability to learn, digest, and apply new information. As a test of general aptitude, the CCAT score report divides scores into math, verbal, and spatial reasoning subscores. Employers may also wish to administer the Employee Personality Profile (EPP), a personality test which can evaluate how content the candidate would be in the accounting field from a job fit perspective. Certain personality traits, such as conscientiousness, are associated with success in accounting, and the EPP can provide guidelines for how well matched a candidate is for that particular position.