Financial accounting is an accounting career in which an individual analyzes an organization’s financial documents for the purpose of providing the organization’s shareholders and other individuals who are not directly responsible for the organization’s management with the information they need to make well-informed financial decisions related to the organization. (It is important to note that although a financial accountant may provide financial information to an organization’s management in some cases, it is usually the responsibility of a managerial accountant to help an organization’s management.) Financial accountants analyze financial records; conduct audits; draft financial reports for shareholders and government agencies; and draft such financial statements as balance sheets and income statements.
- Additionally, financial accountants provide tax information to the organization’s management in order to help the organization’s managers file; record the receipts and invoices from an organization’s financial transactions; verify journal and ledger entries; verify financial records; and perform other similar tasks. Individuals in financial accounting may work under any of a number of different job titles, but some of the most common job titles in financial accounting include accountant, account executive, accounting officer, auditor (a financial accountant is typically considered to be an external auditor, but there are some situations in which a financial accountant may be an internal auditor as well), bookkeeper, financial accountant, financial officer, and public accountant.
An individual may be able to obtain a position in financial accounting with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, a bachelor’s degree in business with a focus in accounting or an accounting certificate, or another similar degree from an accredited accounting school. Many employers, however, may require an individual to have a master’s degree in accounting, a Master’s Degree in Financial Accounting, or a Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA) in addition to a bachelor’s degree. A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) License, an Accredited Business Accountant (ABA) certificate, and/or another similar certificate or license might be legally required for some positions. (A CPA is typically required for an individual that is offering accounting services to individuals or organizations outside the organization in which the individual works.)