Interested in a career in accounting? Here’s what you need to know, to determine if you are a good fit for one of the noblest professions in the world. In today’s world, where the importance of accuracy cannot be overemphasized, accountants are in high demand, in every sphere of business. Beyond calculating figures, accountants help organisations in acting as custodians of finance, and bottom-line. They ensure that organisations’ tax records are clear, as well as emphasizing proper financial planning, for successful businesses. Accountants compile and analyse financial information, review and analyse budgets, maintain control measures and check accuracy in financial reports. Better put, they are the watch dog of the organization. Overall, the accounting profession is a fulfilling and challenging one. If accounting is your chosen profession, then you would need to note the following points.
The career opportunities in Accounting are numerous. You can choose to work for any organization of your choice, or you can choose to work independent of anyone, handling personal clients, and setting the time of work hours, or even doing both, if you can multitask. If you are more career focused than business inclined, then working long hours for reputable organizations, would be ideal for you. Organisations with niche markets and general organisations, usually seek for the services of well trained accountants, so there are always high demands for accounting services.
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In the beginning, the salary not so attractive, unless you are working in a multinational, or in the banking sector, where an entry level salary can be as high as N500,000 naira. Small accounting firms like Tunde Adaramaja and Co.starts off trainees from N30-50,000 thousand naira. KPMG, DELLOITE and PWC start with N120,000. The average salary of the accountant is N300,000. On the long run, the organisation you begin your career, depends on how much you would earn.
As an accountant, you would need a bachelor’s degree or Higher National Diploma certificate in Accounting, to penetrate the accounting field, and an MBA would be required, if you want to take on a leadership position, having had years of experience in accounting. The market of the accountant depends on the degrees and licences he holds, so there is no limit to learning for the accountant.
In addition to having a basic qualification, being members of professional bodies, makes you an authority, and more rounded than someone with just a qualification, and it opens doors of career opportunities for you. Some of such organizations in Nigeria include:
Association of Financial and Management Accountants of Nigeria (AFMAN)
Association of National Accountants of Nigeria
Chartered Institute of Management Accountants of Nigeria
Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Nigeria (ICPAN)
Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria
Association of Chartered Certified Accountants-ACCA is the global professional body of accounting, and while membership of other bodies limits opportunities to Nigeria, being a member of ACCA opens doors of opportunities, globally.
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QUALITIES OF AN ACCOUNTANTS
- Mathematically Sound- To be an accountant, you have to be mathematically sound. You would be dealing with figures by the second, and if you are not good with figures, you might make a lot of mistakes, than can jeopardize an organisation.
- Highly Attentive-You must have a high attention to detail. You would be dealing with figures, as earlier mentioned, and any information overlooked, can cause problems for the organisation. For Example, a missing number in a balance sheet document can cause a miscalculation in assessing the true worth of an organisation. Disorganised people seldom good accountants, so organisation is very key.
- Focus Oriented-Accounting requires serious concentration. Most finance units in organisations are usually in secluded areas, so that they are not disturbed. Easily distracted people are often discouraged to become accountants, likewise highly emotional people. This is because any distraction can affect calculation, and on the long run, affect the organisation.
- Goal Oriented-Accountants are prone to deadline in delivering numbers. Hence, as an accountant, you must be goal oriented. Accountants are target driven, because their reports are virtually needed by most organisational meetings, hence they are usually goal oriented.
- Ethical: Accountants follow codes of ethics that help them in making informed decisions that would affect the organization. Hence, Accounting has no room for sentiments. You must follow the rules according to the books, and there is no room for cutting corners. As an accountant, you would need to act professionally at work, as ethics are as important as the technical and legal aspects of accounting.
- Computer Savvy: You must be proficient in quick books, excel, peach tree and basic computer applications, because you would be on the internet most of the time.