Career Development

What Does a General Accountant Do?

Find out what a general accountant does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a general accountant.

General accountants are responsible for ensuring that companies and organizations have accurate financial records. They commonly work with a team of other accountants, auditors, and finance professionals to ensure that all transactions are properly recorded and accounted for.

General accountants may also be tasked with identifying ways to save money or improve efficiency within their organization. This might include recommending new software systems or procedures to streamline the accounting process, suggesting changes to internal policies and procedures, etc.

General Accountant Job Duties

General accountants have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Reviewing all financial transactions for accuracy and ensuring that accounting records are up to date
  • Preparing financial statements, tax returns, and other reports based on standard accounting practices
  • Providing reports to management regarding the financial status of the company, including trends over time
  • Preparing budgets and forecasting future cash flow needs based on forecasted sales figures
  • Reviewing financial statements and recommending adjustments to improve accuracy of reporting
  • Managing accounts payable and receivable, including collecting payments and identifying potential risks of non-payment
  • Preparing reports on financial activities, such as sales figures, cash flow projections, and inventory levels
  • Reviewing purchase orders before they are processed to ensure that they comply with company policies
  • Reviewing financial data to identify trends, opportunities, and risks in order to make strategic business decisions

General Accountant Salary & Outlook

General accountants’ salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the size and industry of the company. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of bonuses.

  • Median Annual Salary: $62,500 ($30.05/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $80,500 ($38.7/hour)

The employment of general accountants is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

Demand for general accountants will stem from the need to keep costs down and ensure compliance with government regulations. Organizations will continue to hire accountants to evaluate the efficiency of their operations and to make sure that they are in compliance with laws and regulations.

General Accountant Job Requirements

A general accountant typically needs to have the following:

Education: General accountants need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. The most common majors for general accountants are accounting, business administration and finance.

Many employers prefer candidates who have a master’s degree in accounting or business administration with a concentration in accounting. These programs typically take two years to complete and include courses in accounting, business law, economics, finance, management and taxation.

Training & Experience: General accountants typically receive on-the-job training from their supervisors or other experienced accountants. This training helps the general accountant learn the specific processes and procedures of the company.

Certifications & Licenses: Certifications allow you to prove your skills and qualifications to current and potential employers. General accountants can earn certifications to gain more theoretical knowledge of their responsibilities, test their professional skills and further advance their career.

General Accountant Skills

General accountants need the following skills in order to be successful:

Accounting: Accounting is the process of recording and analyzing financial data. General accountants may work with a variety of financial documents, including budgets, invoices, payroll records and cash flow statements. They may also work with other types of data, such as sales data, production data and customer data. General accountants may use accounting software to record and analyze data.

Communication: Communication is the ability to convey information to others in a clear and understandable way. General accountants often communicate with a variety of people, including other accountants, managers, clients and other financial professionals. Effective communication can help you to convey complex financial information in a way that others can understand. It can also help you to build strong relationships with others and to work effectively with others to solve problems.

Critical thinking: Critical thinking is the ability to analyze a situation and make a decision based on the information you have. General accountants use critical thinking skills to make financial decisions for their companies. For example, if a company has a surplus of cash, a general accountant may decide to invest the money in a new project that may increase revenue in the future. General accountants use critical thinking skills to make these types of decisions.

Data analysis: Data analysis is the ability to interpret financial data and draw conclusions from it. General accountants often use data analysis to identify trends in financial data, which can help them predict future financial outcomes. Data analysis can also be used to identify areas of improvement in a company’s financial performance.

Organization: Organization is a crucial skill for accountants, as it allows them to keep track of their work and ensure they submit all the necessary paperwork on time. Organization also allows accountants to keep track of their company’s financial records, which can help them identify any potential issues or trends.

General Accountant Work Environment

General accountants work in a variety of settings, including corporate offices, public accounting firms, and government agencies. They typically work a standard 40-hour week, although they may have to work longer hours during tax season or when deadlines are approaching. General accountants typically work in well-lit and ventilated offices. They may use computers for much of their work, so they should have good eye-hand coordination and be able to sit for long periods of time.

General Accountant Trends

Here are three trends influencing how general accountants work. General accountants will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Need for More Technical Skills

The accounting profession is evolving, and accountants are increasingly being asked to do more than just compile numbers. They are now being asked to provide more technical support, such as data analysis and reporting.

This trend means that general accountants will need to be well-versed in a variety of software programs and have a strong understanding of how to use them. They will also need to be able to communicate effectively with other members of the team, such as marketing and sales staff.

More Focus on Financial Reporting

As businesses become more complex, the demand for financial reporting professionals has increased. This is because financial reporting professionals are responsible for ensuring that the information that is presented to investors and shareholders is accurate and up to date.

General accountants can capitalize on this trend by becoming experts in financial reporting. This includes developing skills in areas such as auditing, tax law, and risk management. In addition, general accountants should focus on building relationships with investors and shareholders in order to ensure that they are kept informed about the latest developments within the company.

Greater Use of Technology

The use of technology in the accounting profession is increasing at a rapid pace. This is due to the fact that technology allows accountants to work more efficiently and provides them with access to a wider range of resources.

As technology becomes more prevalent in the accounting world, general accountants will need to learn how to use these tools in order to stay competitive. This includes learning how to use cloud-based software, social media, and mobile apps.

How to Become a General Accountant

A career as an accountant can be very rewarding. It offers the opportunity to work in a variety of industries and with different types of companies. You’ll also have the chance to develop your skills and expertise in many areas, including accounting, finance, tax, and auditing.

To be successful in this field, you need to have a strong foundation in math and accounting. You should also be able to think critically and be able to problem-solve. Communication skills are important so that you can effectively communicate with clients and other professionals.

Advancement Prospects

Many accountants advance to become controllers, chief financial officers, or treasurers. Some become certified public accountants (CPAs), personal financial advisors, or management accountants.

Advancement for accountants depends on the size of the firm, the employee’s experience, and the employee’s ability to take on additional responsibilities. In small firms, accountants may advance to become partners. In large firms, they may move into management positions.

Many accountants also move into teaching at the college level, or become consultants to businesses on tax, auditing, or accounting issues.

General Accountant Job Description Example

As a general accountant at [CompanyX], you will be responsible for a wide range of accounting and finance tasks. This is a great opportunity for an experienced accountant who is looking for a new challenge and wants to be a part of a growing company. The ideal candidate will have experience with double-entry bookkeeping, financial statements, and tax returns. He or she will be highly organized and detail-oriented, with excellent time management skills. The ability to work independently and take initiative will be essential in this role.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Prepare, examine, and analyze accounting records, financial statements, and other financial reports to assess accuracy, completeness, and conformance to reporting and procedural standards
  • Develop, maintain, and analyze budgets, preparing periodic reports that compare budgeted costs to actual costs
  • Analyze business operations, trends, costs, revenues, financial commitments, and obligations, to project future revenues and expenses or to provide advice
  • Record, store, and retrieve financial data
  • Compute taxes owed and prepare tax returns, ensuring compliance with payment, reporting, and other tax requirements
  • Advise management on short-term and long-term financial objectives, policies, and actions
  • Coordinate and complete annual audits
  • Prepare and review balance sheets, profit and loss statements, and other reports to summarize current and projected company financial position
  • Manage and oversee all aspects of the accounting department, including Accounts Payable/Receivable, General Ledger, Treasury, and Budgeting
  • Oversee the preparation of federal, state, and local tax filings
  • Research technical accounting issues for compliance
  • Support month-end and year-end close process

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, or related field
  • 3-5 years experience in accounting or finance role
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office applications, especially Excel
  • Working knowledge of accounting software programs, including QuickBooks and NetSuite
  • Excellent analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Attention to detail and accuracy

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • CPA or CMA certification
  • Experience with auditing or financial analysis
  • Strong research skills
  • Advanced Excel skills, including VBA programming


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