Working in a particular industry can give the accountant specialized knowledge and expertise in that industry. For example, if you work for a manufacturing company, you will gather knowledge on inventory, manufacturing overhead, and cost accounting. Someone working for an organization in the medical or healthcare industry may develop expertise regarding medical billing and collections.
An accountant working in industry will probably be responsible for preparing journal entries, reconciling accounts, computing depreciation, maintaining fixed assets, and analyzing budget variances, among other things. The company accountant performs a wide range of duties, depending on the size and composition of the accounting staff. They may even be involved in the physical inventory count when it is completed.
The accountant working in industry may or may not be a certified public accountant. Most likely, they will have at least a bachelorís degree in accounting. Some positions in industry accounting do not require an accounting degree. Candidates may be considered qualified if they have at least a certain level of education, and perhaps some accounting experience.
Industry accountants are normally involved at least to some point when their company is being audited. The accountant may even be the key point person between the auditors and the management of the company. In other cases, the accountant may only prepare some of the workpapers for the auditors, provide copies of requested reconciliations, and/or pull invoices or other documentation that the auditors request for review.
Industry accounting can be a very fulfilling and interesting field of practice. Whether you stay employed at one company for a long time, or change jobs fairly frequently, you will learn a lot and gather a wide range of expertise from working in industry accounting. You may start out as an accounting clerk, move up to the position of accounts receivable supervisor, and later get promoted to senior accountant. Each step of the way will add more knowledge and expertise to your accounting background. Public accounting is not for everyone, and industry accounting may be a perfect fit for you.
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