For those looking to work in traditional accounting positions, the CPA career path in corporate accounting can be an alluring option. Corporate accountants serve one business, working within the company as a piece of its structure and not as an outsider performing a service. This can translate into job stability, high salaries, and consistency in expectations.
What Is a Corporate Accountant
Typically, private or corporate accountants are W2 employees of the company they work for, serving as accountants for businesses that produce goods and services. These companies are frequently publicly traded. Though there are exceptions, for many corporate accountants, the most time-intensive hours of their work will be around the end of the month when records for that period need to be completed. Corporate accountants may also feel more demand on their time when annual and quarterly tasks come due.
Responsibilities of Corporate Accountants
The exact responsibilities of a corporate accountant will differ between businesses and positions. Because they are internal accountants, they may take on a number of financial tasks for the business, including composing special reports, completing cost analyses, managing account receivables, and payables, and more. Responsibilities may evolve or change depending on your time in the position or the level at which you join the company.
For corporate accounting staff, the first few years of accounting will likely entail a lot of financial accounting and reporting. This includes doing the time-intensive and detail-oriented work of payroll, receivables, payables, financial statements, and general ledger. You may also be responsible for collecting cost data, performing initial cost analyses and preparing reports, and managing tax returns and schedules.
In a Senior Accounting position, you’ll be expected to supervise the work of the staff accountants. Overall management of the accounting system and development of special reports and financial data analyses may also fall under your umbrella. Tax accounting will likely be one of a Senior Accountant’s responsibilities, with one or more of the following under your authority: payroll tax, sales tax, property tax, and federal, state, and local income taxes.
There are many upper-level positions available in corporate accounting that usually require six or more years of experience. A Financial Accounting and Reporting Manager will assist the company’s Controller and may be responsible for budgetary planning. A Tax Manager is in control of managing the satisfactory completion of all tax-related obligations and keeping up to date with changing tax laws and regulations.
Controllers are typically the Chief Accounting Executive and are expected to direct and manage all accounting personnel and their assorted responsibilities regarding the financial data of the company. Checking the company’s progress against forecasted performance and making suggestions for improvements also falls to the Controller.
The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) in a company is the highest position in an organization for an accountant. A CFO works with the CEO or President of the company to advise on issues regarding financial reporting and stability, as well as liquidity and growth. The CFO also directs financial strategy and manages the work of the other high-level accounting positions.
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