Chartered Accountants work in a wide range of business sectors and in a broad spectrum of roles, from Chief Executives to Financial Controllers. Below are a few examples of the type of positions that Chartered Accountants occupy.
Tax matters arise in every aspect of running a business, from day-to-day VAT to share schemes. Tax accountants prepare corporate and personal income tax statements and formulate tax strategies involving issues such as financial choice, how to best treat a merger or acquisition, deferral of taxes, when to expense items and the like.
This work requires a thorough understanding of economics and the tax code, and responsibility comes early. Increasingly, large corporations are looking for persons with both an accounting and a legal background in tax. While tax issues vary by sector, being tax compliant is essential for all clients.
Management accountants work in companies and participate in decisions about capital budgeting and line of business analysis. Major functions include cost analysis, analysis of new contracts and participation in efforts to control expenses efficiently.
This work often involves the analysis of the structure of organisations. Is responsibility to spend money in a company at the right level of our organisation? Are goals and objectives to control costs being communicated effectively? Historically, many management accountants have been derided as "bean counters". This mentality has undergone major change as management accountants now often work side by side with marketing and finance personnel to develop new business.
Financial accountants prepare financial statements based on general ledgers and participate in important financial decisions involving mergers and acquisitions, benefits planning and long-term financial projections. This type of work can be really varied - one day you may be running spreadsheets, the next you may be visiting a customer or supplier to set up a new account and discuss business. This work requires a good understanding of both accounting and finance.
Budget analysts are responsible for developing and managing an organisation's financial plans. There are plentiful jobs in this area in government and private industry. Besides quantitative skills, many budget analyst positions require superior people skills because of negotiations involved in the work.
Working in audit involves checking accounting ledgers and financial statements within corporations and government, and is the basis of much of accountancy practice. Auditing work is becoming increasingly computerised and can rely on sophisticated random sampling methods. This area may involve considerable travel and allows you to work in a wide array of sectors, to get a great understanding of how money is being made and managed.