Accounting analyst

An accounting analyst

Description

Accounting analysts evaluate the financial statements of clients, usually companies, which include the income sheet, the balance sheet, the statement of cash flows and additional notes to other financial statements. They interpret and implement new accounting systems and accounting procedures and will analyse and determine if the proposed systems conform to accounting regulations and meet user information requirements.

The duties of an accounting analyst include, but are not limited to:

  • Reviewing financial statements to ensure accounting principles were applied correctly
  • Analyzing data to identify trends or patterns to help make business decisions
  • Preparing reports for senior management about the financial status of the business in order to make strategic decisions about future operations
  • Preparing financial statements such as income statements and balance sheets for public companies
  • Analyzing accounting data to identify any unusual activity that might indicate fraudulent activity has taken place
  • Preparing financial statements by identifying entries from journals and ledgers that need to be recorded in the accounting system
  • Preparing budgets based on projected revenues and expenses for a department or company
  • Reviewing financial statements prepared by other departments in order to identify errors in record keeping or accounting principles used
  • Reviewing financial statements prepared by other departments in order to identify errors in record keeping or accounting principles used

Working conditions

Accounting analysts work in a variety of settings, including corporate accounting departments, public accounting firms, and government agencies. They typically work a standard 40-hour week, although they may have to work longer hours during busy periods, such as at the end of the fiscal year.

Many accounting analysts also travel to attend professional conferences or to meet with clients. The work environment is usually fast-paced and deadline-oriented, and accounting analysts must be able to work well under pressure. They must also be able to pay close attention to detail and have excellent analytical and problem-solving skills.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to accounting analyst:

accounting specialist
accounting systems analyst
accounting methods analyst
accounts analyst

Minimum qualifications

A bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance, business administration, mathematics, or a related field is generally required to work as an accounting analyst. Some employers may prefer candidates with a master’s degree in these fields..

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Accounting analyst is a Skill level 4 occupation.

Accounting analyst career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to accounting analyst.

financial controller
accounting manager
corporate treasurer
financial fraud examiner
accountant

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of accounting analyst.

  • Accounting department processes: The different processes, duties, jargon, role in an organisation, and other specificities of the accounting department within an organisation such as bookkeeping, invoices, recording, and taxing.
  • Financial department processes: The different processes, duties, jargon, role in an organisation, and other specificities of the financial department within an organisation. Understanding of financial statements, investments, disclosing policies, etc.
  • Financial statements: The set of financial records disclosing the financial position of a company at the end of a set period or of the accounting year. The financial statements consisting of five parts which are the statement of financial position, the statement of comprehensive income, the statement of changes in equity (SOCE), the statement of cash flows and notes.
  • International financial reporting standards: The set of accounting standards and rules aimed at companies listed in the stock exchange which are required to publish and disclose their financial statements.
  • Accounting techniques: The techniques of recording and summarising business and financial transactions and analysing, verifying, and reporting the results.
  • Accounting entries: The financial transactions recorded in accounting systems or books of a company together with the metadata linked to the entry such as the date, the amount, the accounts affected, and a description of the transaction.
  • National generally accepted accounting principles: The accounting standard accepted in a region or country specifying the rules and procedures to disclose financial data.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of accounting analyst.

  • Monitor financial accounts: Handle financial administration of your department, keep the costs down to only necessary expenses and maximise the revenues of your organisation.
  • Analyse business processes: Study the contribution of the work processes to the business goals and monitor their efficiency and productivity.
  • Interpret financial statements: Read, understand, and interpret the key lines and indicators in financial statements. Extract the most important information from financial statements depending on the needs and integrate this information in the development of the department’s plans.
  • Check accounting records: Revise the accounting records of the quarter and year and ensure that the accounting information reflects with accuracy the financial transactions of the company.
  • Analyse financial performance of a company: Analyse the performance of the company in financial matters in order to identify improvement actions that could increase profit, based on accounts, records, financial statements and external information of the market.
  • Draft accounting procedures: Lay down standard methods and guidelines to regulate bookkeeping and accounting operations, including determining the bookkeeping system used to record financial transactions.
  • Explain accounting records: Provide additional explanation and disclosure to staff, vendors, auditors, and to any other instance about the way accounts were recorded and treated in the financial records.
  • Create a financial report: Finalise project accounting. Prepare an actual budget, compare the discrepancy between the planned and actual budget, and draw final conclusions.
  • Analyse financial risk: Identify and analyse risks that could impact an organisation or individual financially, such as credit and market risks, and propose solutions to cover against those risks.
  • Supervise accounting operations: Coordinate, commission, and monitor operations in accounting departments in order to ensure the accurate record and eventual reporting of the financial operations of the company.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of accounting analyst. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Liquidity management: The theory and practices around the management of liquidity in a company with the aim of facilitating meeting obligations with thirds parties without compromising the smooth functioning of the company nor incurring in substantial losses.
  • Stock market: The market in which shares of publicly held companies are issued and traded.
  • Investment analysis: The methods and tools for analysis of an investment compared to its potential return. Identification and calculation of profitability ratio and financial indicators in relation to associated risks to guide decision on investment.
  • Public offering: The elements comprised in public offerings of companies in the stock market such as determining the initial public offering (IPO), the type of security, and the timing to launch it in the market.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of accounting analyst. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Perform stock valuation: Analyse, calculate and appraise the value of the stock of a company. Use mathematic and logarithm in order to determine the value in consideration of different variables.
  • Perform forensic accounting: Perform audits and evaluations of financial information, accounts, financial products, and stewardship of companies. Exert financial investigations with different emphasis such as insurance claims, fraud, and anti-money laundering.
  • Provide cost benefit analysis reports: Prepare, compile and communicate reports with broken down cost analysis on the proposal and budget plans of the company. Analyse the financial or social costs and benefits of a project or investment in advance over a given period of time.
  • Review investment portfolios: Meet with clients to review or update an investment portfolio and provide financial advice on investments.
  • Forecast account metrics: Make predictions on the movement of account measurements and data which give insight into an organisation’s financial state in order to aid analyses and evaluate potential risks.
  • Prepare financial statements: Collect, entry, and prepare the set of financial records disclosing the financial position of a company at the end of a certain period or accounting year. The financial statements consisting of five parts which are the statement of financial position, the statement of comprehensive income, the statement of changes in equity (SOCE), the statement of cash flows and notes.
  • Evaluate budgets: Read budget plans, analyse the expenditures and incomes planned during certain period, and provide judgement on their abidance to the general plans of the company or organism.
  • Advise on financial matters: Consult, advise, and propose solutions with regards to financial management such as acquiring new assets, incurring in investments, and tax efficiency methods.
  • Follow the statutory obligations: Understand, abide by, and apply the statutory obligations of the company in the daily performance of the job.
  • Liaise with shareholders: Communicate and serve as communication point with shareholders in order to provide an overview on their investments, returns, and long-term plans of the company to increase profitability.
  • Ensure compliance with accounting conventions: Exercise accounting management and abidance by generally accepted accounting conventions such as recording transactions at the current price, quantifying goods, separating personal accounts of managers from those of the company, making effective the transfer of legal ownership of assets in its realisation time, and ensuring the principle of materiality.
  • Ensure compliance with disclosure criteria of accounting information: Revise the accounting information of the company to make sure it meets the commonly agreed criteria for its disclosure such as understandability, relevance, consistency, comparability, reliability, and objectivity.
  • Idenfify if a company is a going concern: Analyse financial statements, financial information and the outlook of the company in order to determine the going concern of the company.
  • Manage accounts: Manage the accounts and financial activities of an organisation, supervising that all the documents are correctly maintained, that all the information and calculations are correct, and that proper decisions are being made.
  • Make strategic business decisions: Analyse business information and consult directors for decision making purposes in a varied array of aspects affecting the prospect, productivity and sustainable operation of a company. Consider the options and alternatives to a challenge and make sound rational decisions based on analysis and experience.

ISCO group and title

2411 – Accountants


References
  1. Accounting analyst – ESCO
  2. Accountants and Auditors : Occupational Outlook Handbook – U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  3. Accounting Analyst Job Description: Salary, Duties, & More – Climb the Ladder
  4. Featured image: Photo by Bench Accounting on Unsplash
Last updated on August 28, 2023