Types of Accountants: 50 Shades of PAYE

(4/5) 50 Shades of PAYE…

Types and Specialities in Accountancy, Number 4 of 5 in this series introducing accountants and their role in business.

If, like many people, the very word ‘Accountant’ is enough to turn you off, perhaps you don’t yet realise the sheer variety and versatility of accountants out there.

One very important distinction if you’re new to business and approaching an accountant for the first time is between Chartered and non-Chartered accountants. Simply put, a Chartered Accountant has passed a series of exams, gained a period of professional experience and is qualified, amongst other things, to certify the accounts of organisations in the country in which they are chartered. Chartered Accountants are bound by principles of professional conduct and guidance issued by third party organisations, such as the ‘Generally Accepted Accounting Principles’ (GAAP). Individuals without these qualifications are still allowed to call themselves Accountants, but must work under the supervision of a Chartered Accountant. Be sure that you know the background of the Accountant that you employ.

Broadly speaking, there are four types of accountant:

Financial Accountants focus on the reporting and disclosure of financial information for the benefit of external users, such as investors, regulators and suppliers. Their reports are typically past-orientated.

Management Accountants are involved with collection, analysis and reporting of data for use internally, within the company. They help to produce the Monthly Management accounts, which contain data about the company’s performance against a range of indicators specified, in part, by the directors, and advise about strategy. Their reports are often future-focussed.

Auditing Accountants specialise in providing independent (i.e., external) verification of the assertions of other accountants working for an organisation. They will express an opinion on the fairness of accounts produced and are required to identify any circumstances in which the GAAPs (see above) have not been fulfilled.

Strategic planning(resize)

Tax Accountants deal with submissions to HMRC regarding all forms of tax and, when employed by a particular individual or company, will often work on Tax Reduction. They may also, of course, work for HMRC itself.

Within these broad groups, particular accountants may undertake specialist work in an area in which they have additional qualifications, experience or interest. There are almost as many species of these specialist accountants as there are types of financial information, but a selection of some of the more common include:

Agriculture

Education

Energy (Oil, Gas, Renewable, etc.)

Forensic (working with police to identify fraudulent activity or detect other crimes through analysis of financial records)

Medical

Property

Sport (football and rugby clubs, etc.)

Veterinary

Not all as dull as you might think!

The next post in this series deals with Accountancy in a Hostile Environment, the SAS of Accounting? The previous one is an overview of Value Added Services. The other topics are a general Overview and a closer look at Compliance.

Pointers

  • Chartered Accountants are qualified and eligible to certify the accounts of organisations in the country in which they are chartered
  • Individuals without these qualifications must work under the supervision of a Chartered Accountant
  • Financial Accountants compile reports for the benefit of external regulators such as investors and regulators
  • Management Accountants collect, analyse and report data for internal use. Their reports are often future-focussed
  • Auditing Accountants specialise in providing independent assertions of other accountants working for an organisation
  • Tax Accountants deal with submissions to HMRC
  • Within these groups, particular accountants may undertake specialist work in an area in which they have additional qualifications, experience or interest, such as agriculture or sport

Apr 16, 2015