An accountant is a skilled or qualified person trained in bookkeeping and in preparing, auditing and analysing accounts. Accountants prepare annual reports and financial statements for planning and decision making. It could be for a company or an individual in accordance with government regulatory rules.
Some of their duties involve:
Performing the task of identifying, recording, measuring, reporting, classifying, verifying, summarizing, interpreting and communicating financial information. Revealing the profit or loss for a given period. And the value and nature of a firm’s assets, liabilities and owner’s equity.
Preparing the organization’s financial statement.
Analyzing the cost of operations, products and special projects.
Auditing a firm’s financial statements.
Assist businesses with their accounting systems, financial statements, income tax returns, tax planning etc.
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STEPS TO BECOMING AN ACCOUNTANT IN NIGERIA
The following are the steps to take to become an accountant:
- Decide on the type of Accountant you want to be:
The first step to becoming an accountant is to decide the type of accountant you eventually want to become. There are various types of accountants. Some of which are: financial accountant, cost accountant, forensic accountant, tax accountants, auditor, management accountants, government accountants, etc.
- Financial Accountant:
Financial accountants are concerned with the aggregation of financial information into external reports. They give the financial report of a company. These reports are produced for external use in the form of financial statement. The financial statement reflects an organization’s past performance and present position based on a set of standards and guidelines known as GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles).
- Cost Accountant:
Cost accounting involves the application of various techniques to monitor and control costs.
- Forensic Accountant:
Forensic accounting involves reconstructing a financial information when a complete set of financial record is not available. Forensic accountants act as witnesses in courts of law in civil and criminal disputes that require assessing the financial effects of a loss or when a financial fraud is detected.
- Tax Accountant:
Tax accountants are responsible for ensuring compliance with tax regulations, filings and tax planning to reduce a company’s tax burden. It refers to accounting for tax related matters. Tax accountants adjust the financial statements prepared under the financial accounting principles to account for the differences with rules prescribed by the tax laws. The information gotten, is used to estimate the company’s tax liability and to plan its tax.
An auditor is someone who and examines the financial records and activities of an organization to ensure compliance with the established policies and procedures. They are concerned with examining the company’s transactions to identify weaknesses, fraud, mismanagement etc. They report their findings to the management who in turn takes action to ensure accuracy in the organization.
- Management Accountant:
Management accountant are concerned with the process of accumulating accounting information for internal use by the company’s management. They analyze financial data for companies, and are directly in the company’s plan, budget and maximising the company’s expenditures. They are responsible for drafting reports seen only by the company’s management.
- Government Accountant:
Government Accountants are public accountants who work for government agencies or businesses subject to the government’s regulations. Government accountants ensures the financial position and performance of the public sector institutions. They have separate rules to follow to account for the transactions and events of public entities.
- Be Determined
The next step to take after deciding the type of accountant you want to become is to be determined. Being an accountant is hard work. And without determination, you will easily be discouraged. As Colin Powell said “A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work”.
- Secondary Education: There are stages and levels of classes you need to pass through to become an accountant. If you skip a level or class to the next one, it might be difficult for you to fully grasp the knowledge in the next stage. You must pass through the secondary educational system if you desire to become an accountant. You should be in the commercial class and good in subjects like: Mathematics, English Language, Accounting, Economics, Commerce etc.
- Obtain an accounting degree: To become an accountant in Nigeria, you need a University degree that will prove you are an accountant. Go to college, get a good degree that’ll qualify you as an accountant.
- Get a Professional Certificate:
Professional certificates gives you an edge over others. If you want to be preferred in a job interview, a professional accounting certificate is advisable. There are several accounting certificates that could improve your chances of getting a job as an accountant. Some of which are ICAN, ACCA, CIMA, etc.
ICAN is an abbreviation for the Institute of chartered Accountants of Nigeria. It is a professional body established in September 1 1965 by the act of parliament number 15.
It has two sub heads which is
*Accounting Technician Scheme: Held twice in a year mostly during March and September. It has three stages; Ats 1, 2 and 3. You may be exempted from ATS 1 and 2 if you already have a degree in accounting.
*Professional Examination: The professional examination also has three stages; Intermediate, P.E 1 and P.E 2. Examinations hold twice a year too during May and November. You will be certified as a chartered accountant if you qualify and pass this stage.
ACCA is the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. It is an international body and the largest and fastest growing accounting body in over 165 countries. The ACCA qualification is recognised and treated as being equivalent to other local qualifications.
The examinations are held four times in a year which are, March, June, September and December. You must pass all 14 examinations but with an accounting degree, you will be exempted from some of the examinations. For each sitting, you can attempt a maximum of 4 papers and all examinations must be completed within a period of ten years.
The examinations are held in countries across the world.
CIMA is an abbreviation for Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. It is the world’s professional body of management accountants. Its aim is to establish management accounting as the most valued profession in business worldwide. A CIMA qualification added to your CV can give you an edge over others in 5job market. It also increases your chances of attaining a senior position in your organisation making you earn more.
The examination stages are 12 in number which consists of 9 objective tests taking 3 at each level and three integrated case studies, and you’re to take one at each level.
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