What do you think of accounting

Accountant - requirements and career prospects

Bookkeeping is often given a negative connotation. I have five years as a myself Accountant worked. I was employed in a medium-sized company as well as in a large corporation. Bookkeeping isn't half as boring as some might think. In addition, I learned a lot more about business administration during this time than during my studies. However, I have to admit that it was only through my studies that I really understood many connections. Bookkeeping is much more than just staring at numbers and tables.

As an accountant, I worked with all sorts of departments in the company, but also directly with our customers. So you should be good with people. After all, you have an insight into sensitive data of your employer as well as his customers and suppliers. If something goes wrong, you'll be the first to know. That is why accountants are also competent contacts for important decisions.

But what exactly does an accountant do and what requirements do you have to meet as an accountant? So what training paths do you use to get into this profession and what opportunities for advancement are there?

What do you need an accountant for?

As an accountant, you record the financial data of a company. You have to take into account numerous legal provisions such as accounting or tax law. Typical tasks of an accountant include:

  • Record invoices correctly and monitor incoming and outgoing payments.
  • Contribute to the preparation of annual, quarterly and monthly financial statements
  • Participate in budget planning
  • Plan and carry out payment transactions at home and abroad
  • Management of suppliers and customers

In order to make these tasks easier and thus save time, special programs are often used in accounting. These contribute to the quick and efficient completion of the bookkeeping. Large corporations often work with SAP. For small and medium-sized companies, less complex accounting software is usually sufficient. As a self-employed person, I use Lexoffice to file and post my invoices for my tax return. There are also other digital facilities that ensure faster work.

Future prospects for accountants

Although digitization is an enormous help in this professional field, such software solutions can under no circumstances completely replace a real accountant. So don't panic. As a result, should this profession really ever die out, you can still change saddles later. After all, as an accountant you learn a lot about entrepreneurship and nobody will be able to take this know-how away from you.

Requirements for accountants

If you want to become an accountant, it is a prerequisite that you are good at numbers. So abstract thinking shouldn't be a problem for you. Numbers are the ultimate basis for decision-making in business and are therefore a closely guarded secret. Because you don't show your bank statements to anyone.

In addition, as an accountant, you should work absolutely reliably and carefully. Otherwise, it can be costly for the company if you make mistakes. Furthermore, it is essential that a potential accountant is familiar with how to use the computer. Very good Microsoft Office knowledge is a matter of course. You must also be able to cope with changes and familiarize yourself with new software or changes in the law. IT should therefore be your friend. After all, you spend a lot of your time on the computer.

Training to become an accountant

In Germany there is no independent professional training to become an accountant. Therefore, as a rule, a commercial apprenticeship with an IHK exam is to be completed first. I am a trained businessman in wholesale and foreign trade and after my training I was taken on in the accounts receivable department of my training company. During my apprenticeship I went through all departments of the company and was able to try out different areas of responsibility.

It became clear that I have a knack for bookkeeping. In this medium-sized company with around 500 employees, that was the classic entry. The only academic there was the chief of accounting. When I later switched to industry, I was the only one in accounts receivable without a college degree. Almost all of the others had a bachelor's degree in business administration and earned the same salary as me.

Another way into accounting can be further training to become a state-certified accountant. Regardless of which of these types of training you choose, there are various ways of obtaining government funding.

Career opportunities for accountants

Usually you start out as a accounts receivable or accounts payable clerk and then work your way up to a payroll clerk. This is followed by a position in financial accounting before you ultimately become an accountant. As an accountant, you can also advance to the position of head of accounting.

If you are aiming for this career, a degree is essential. In addition, you can then even rise to the position of CFO or head of operations. This is especially the case in those companies that focus on reducing or controlling costs. If you are aiming for such a position, you should also have foreign language skills and communication skills. Because in these positions the requirements are significantly higher than those of an accountant.

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