Where Can Accountants Work?
Alaz Goh from Nilai International College (now Nilai University College) shares.
Accounting is collecting, analysing, and communicating economic information. It is a study of businesses tracking their income and assets.
With advances in information technology, traditional routine accounting tasks, such as transaction processing and external reporting, is decreasing. Accountants today focus more on analysing operations rather than just providing or reporting financial data. They also play an important role as decision-makers in organisations.
Where to Find Employment
Graduates can be employed by public accounting firms or commercial corporations in the private sector and can move freely between industries, accounting services and have a wide variety of choices. There are currently more accountants working for company industries than public accounting firms.
Those with strong financial analysis backgrounds, taxation expertise, cost accounting knowledge, and international and forensic accounting experiences will be in demand. The demand for people with experience and know how to develop new business areas is also on the rise.
Public accountants work in firms or organisations that provide accounting services to individuals, businesses, and governments. Due to the complexity of business structure s and increasing regulations by government, members of the public accounting business must specialise in audit, taxation, or management advisory.
Young graduates who apply to work in public accounting firms begin as junior accountants and gradually gain more qualifications while working. With experience, it is possible for junior accountants and auditors to advance to internal or external auditing or accounting management positions.
Accountants who work in this sector are responsible for administration and budgeting, tracking expenditures, and analysing the feasibility of government programmes. Government accounting differs from other types of accounting because they must follow special procedures and regulations.
Some government accountants specialise in forensic accountancy. Forensic accountants combine their knowledge of accounting and finance with law and investigative techniques to determine if any illegal activity is being carried out.
Corporations in the private sector have an accounting department that prepares financial statements, tracks costs, and handles tax issues and international transactions. Accounting graduates can apply to banking and insurance companies as personal financial advisers and financial analysts.
Work in the Field
Accountants have more occupational mobility. Practitioners often shift into management accounting or internal auditing from public accounting, or between internal auditing and management accounting. Increasingly, accountants are also assuming the role of personal financial advisers. They not only provide clients with accounting and tax help, but also help them develop personal budgets, manage assets and investments, plan for retirement, and recognise and reduce exposure to risks.
An accounting degree provides a foundation and gateway to a career in accounting. Accounting graduates should carve a niche in any accounting opportunities available by updating themselves on the latest changes and requirements in the industry.
Alaz Goh is currently the Dean of the Business School at Nilai University College, where he has also previously served as Programme Coordinator for the School of Foundation and Head of Accounting and Finance Department in the Business School, as well as participated in numerous alumni conferences.Prior to his appointment at Nilai, Alaz served as a consultant and accountant for many business organisations (retail, property, manufacturing companies and academic institutions). He enjoys giving motivational speeches and providing career coaching.
This article first appeared in doctorjob's CoursesNOW! Business 2008.