Career Development

What Does a Staff Accountant Do?

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

Staff accountants are responsible for maintaining the books and records of their organization. They commonly work with a team of other accountants, auditors, and financial professionals to ensure that all transactions are properly recorded and accounted for.

Staff accountants may also be tasked with preparing reports or presentations on the state of the company’s finances. These reports might be used internally by management to make decisions about how to best allocate resources or externally by investors or regulators who want to know more about the company’s performance.

Staff Accountant Job Duties

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

  • Reviewing and approving payments and verifying the accuracy of financial transactions
  • Preparing and maintaining records of financial transactions such as invoices, payments, and receivables
  • Interpreting company policies and procedures to ensure that all accounting tasks are completed accurately and in accordance with company standards
  • Maintaining financial records by creating journal entries or adjusting account balances based on business transactions
  • Calculating taxes, interest, or other fees owed or due to governmental agencies on behalf of clients
  • Preparing financial reports such as budgets, projections, audits, and accounting statements
  • Recommending financial solutions to management based on current market conditions
  • Reviewing and processing employee benefit claims for health insurance, life insurance, or disability insurance including Medicare and Social Security
  • Answering questions about complex financial topics such as 401k plans or stock options for the general public

Staff Accountant Salary & Outlook

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

  • Median Annual Salary: $60,500 ($29.09/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $122,000 ($58.65/hour)

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

Staff accountants will be needed to help companies comply with new accounting standards and regulations, such as those related to revenue recognition and leases. In addition, demand for these workers will stem from the need to improve internal controls within organizations.

Staff Accountant Job Requirements

A staff accountant typically needs to have the following:

Education: A staff accountant is typically required to have a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field. Some employers may prefer candidates who have a master’s degree in accounting. Relevant coursework includes accounting, business, finance, economics and mathematics.

Training & Experience: Staff accountants typically receive on-the-job training from their supervisors or other senior staff members. This training helps staff accountants learn the specific processes and procedures of the company. It also helps them learn the software and computer systems they will use on a daily basis.

Certifications & Licenses: Certifications can prove an employee’s qualifications to current and future employers. Staff accountants can earn certifications to gain more theoretical knowledge of their responsibilities, test their professional skills and further advance their career.

Staff Accountant Skills

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

Accounting: Accounting is the process of recording and analyzing financial data. It’s important for accountants to have a strong understanding of accounting principles and practices. This includes knowledge of bookkeeping, budgeting, taxes and other financial topics. Having a background in accounting can help you learn the skills you need to be an effective staff accountant.

Data analysis: Data analysis is the ability to interpret financial data and draw conclusions from it. This is a crucial skill for accountants, as they need to be able to analyze data and draw conclusions about the company’s financial health. For example, an accountant might analyze a company’s profit margins and sales data to determine whether the company is operating efficiently.

Critical thinking: Critical thinking is the ability to analyze a situation and make a decision based on the information you have. As an accountant, you may be required to make financial decisions based on the information you have. For example, if you notice a discrepancy in a company’s financial records, you may need to make a decision about how to proceed. This may include deciding whether to contact a manager or supervisor to ask for more information or to continue to research the issue on your own.

Communication: Communication is the ability to convey information to others in a clear and understandable manner. As an account executive, you may be required to communicate with clients and customers over the phone or in person. You may also be required to communicate with other staff members to relay information or answer questions.

Organization: Organization is a crucial skill for accountants, as they often have many tasks to complete in a short period of time. Having excellent organizational skills can help them prioritize their work and ensure they complete all of their duties on time. Organizational skills can also help them keep track of financial records and other documents.

Staff Accountant Work Environment

Staff accountants work in a variety of settings, including public accounting firms, corporate accounting departments, and non-profit organizations. They typically work a standard 40-hour week, although they may have to work longer hours during busy periods, such as the end of the fiscal year or during tax season. While most of their work is performed in an office setting, some travel may be required for client meetings or to attend conferences. Staff accountants generally work on teams with other accountants and support staff, such as administrative assistants and bookkeepers. They may also interact with clients, vendors, and other business professionals.

Staff Accountant Trends

Here are three trends influencing how staff accountants work. Staff 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 staff accountants are increasingly being asked to have more technical skills. This means that they will need to be able to use software such as Excel and QuickBooks in order to do their jobs effectively.

Staff accountants who are able to utilize these tools will be in high demand, as they will be able to provide a greater level of support to the rest of the accounting team. In addition, they will be better equipped to handle complex tasks, which can help to streamline operations and improve efficiency.

More Focus on Data Analytics

As data analytics becomes more important, staff accountants will need to focus on developing this skill set.

Data analytics allows staff accountants to make better decisions based on the information that they have. By understanding how to analyze data, staff accountants can make better predictions about future trends and understand what is happening in their industry. This can help them to make better business decisions and ensure that their company is successful.

Greater Attention to Risk Management

Risk management has become an increasingly important area for businesses in recent years. As a result, staff accountants are now being tasked with managing risk within their organizations.

This trend requires staff accountants to have a deep understanding of risk management principles and how to apply them to different situations. They also need to be able to identify potential risks and develop strategies to mitigate them.

How to Become a Staff Accountant

A career as an staff accountant is a great way to get your foot in the door of the accounting world. It’s a chance to learn about different aspects of accounting and gain experience working with a variety of clients.

As you progress in your career, you may want to specialize in a particular area of accounting. You could become a tax accountant, corporate accountant, or forensic accountant. Or you could choose to work in another area of business, such as finance or operations.

No matter which direction you take, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest accounting trends and developments. You can do this by reading professional journals and attending industry conferences.

Related: How to Write a Staff Accountant Resume

Advancement Prospects

The most common way to advance in this career is to obtain a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license. To be eligible to take the CPA exam, you must have a bachelor’s degree in accounting and one year of experience working in the field. Once you have passed the exam, you will be able to open your own accounting firm or work your way up to a management position in a larger firm.

Another way to advance in this career is to obtain a master’s degree in accounting or business administration. With a master’s degree, you will be eligible for positions such as financial analyst, controller, or treasurer.

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