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Accountants deal with the financial affairs of private or public sector organisations. They check financial records, assess the financial implications of business decisions, and audit company accounts to make sure that they show an accurate picture of a company's activities and finances.
Accountants help organisations and individuals manage their money. They examine financial records and statements and check them for accuracy. This allows them to provide their clients with a clear picture of their financial activities.
Many limited companies are required by law to be externally audited. An external audit is a check carried out by a qualified person, who is not connected with the company. When doing an audit, the accountant has to examine accounting systems as well as check figures. Some accountants specialise in taxation.
Accountants work in various settings:
Public sector where they may work for bodies such as the Health Boards or local councils
- Public practice where they work for firms of accountants whose clients can vary from individuals to commercial and government organisations.
In both industry and the public sector, accountants are concerned with the day-to-day finances of their organisation. They provide analyses of costs and report on the financial implications of management decisions.
Accountants who work for accountancy firms audit the accounts of their clients to ensure that the financial records give a true and fair view of the client's activities. Some accountancy firms also act as management consultants and advise clients on tax planning and ways to improve profits.
Personal Qualities and Skills
To be an accountant you need to be capable of analysing and interpreting figures. As many accounting systems are computerised, you should also feel comfortable using computers. You'll need good written and spoken communication skills when communicating with clients. You also need to be numerate and analytical with an ability to handle complex information and pay attention to detail.
In some areas of accountancy you will need to develop a thorough understanding of tax law.
Pay and Opportunities
Salaries vary in relation to the size of the company and nature of the work. Part-qualified accountants should expect between EUR20k and EUR30k a year. Newly qualified accountants should earn between EUR40k and EUR50k a year. This can rise considerably with experience.
Entry Routes and Training
New entrants join with the Leaving Certificate or as graduates. To qualify as an accountant, you need to register with one of the appropriate professional bodies. You then combine on-the-job training with part-time study and written examinations.
The relevant bodies are:
Association of Chartered Certified Accountants
Chartered Institute of Management Accountants
Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy
Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland
Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Ireland
Institute of Incorporated Public Accountants
If you want to register with one of these bodies you must meet their minimum educational requirements. If you exceed the minimum entry requirements you may be exempt from some written examinations.
Accountancy courses are available at universities and training centers throughout Ireland.
Candidates should check with the different accountancy bodies for specific entry requirements.
Application for admission to undergraduate courses must be made in accordance with the regulations and procedures and timetable described in the CAO Handbook.
The Handbook is confined to giving information on how to apply for admission to the relevant institutions. Applicants should not attempt to complete the application form without first referring to the information literature on courses, which is available from the institutions to which application is to be made.
You should check with the individual Institutions' prospectuses for specific entry requirements and course details.
Please see http://www.cao.ie/courses.php for information on course qualifications.
There is no formal upper age limit for entry to this profession. There are various routes for mature applicants to qualify through.
Mature entrants, normally defined as people aged 23 years or over, can find that educational institutions will relax normal academic entrance requirements for higher education courses especially if their previous work experience is relevant and if they show a genuine aptitude for this type of work.
Contact your local FÁS office for Career Guidance, planning and support that will help you make informed decisions about the best career direction for you
- AGCAS: Accountancy and Business Services
- Careers in Accountancy
Kogan Page Ltd
- GTI: City and Finance Careers
GTI Specialist Publishers Ltd
- Guide to Careers in Finance
Hobsons Publishing plc
- Graduate Careers in Accountancy, Business and Finance
Labour Market Information
Qualifax: Ireland’s National Learners’ Database
The part of the economy that is not under direct control of the state. Most companies and businesses are part of the private sector.
Services or parts of the economy that are run by the state rather than private companies. For example, the National Health Service is part of the public sector.
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