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  1. 1. ACCOUNTING 101
  2. 2. What is Accounting? Accounting is the study of how businesses track their income and assets over time. Accountants engage in a wide variety of activities besides preparing financial statements and recording business transactions including; computing costs and efficiency gains, auditing, participating in strategies for mergers and acquisitions, quality management, developing and using information systems to track financial performance, tax strategy, and employee benefits. Did You Know? 35% of Accountants work in Insurance and Finance 20% of Accountants work in Accountant Tax Preparation, Bookkeeping and Payroll Services 9% of Accountants work in Public Administration 3% of Accountants work in Wholesale Trade 3% of Accountants work in Retail Trade 3% of Accountants work in Management Scientific and Technical Consulting Services Related Areas of Interest Business Law Government Marketing Actuary Economics Auditing Insurance Advising Operations Management Financial Planning Bookkeeping
  3. 3. Investment Advising Investment Banking Logistics Specialization Management Consulting Market Research Analysis Mathematics Money Management Operations Research Analysis Statistics Stocks and Trades Venture Capitalism Related Volunteer Organizations SMU Accounting Society SMU Management Science Society SMU Commerce Society SMU Marketing Society SMU Investment Banking and Capital Markets Society Centre for Entrepreneurship Education and Development Canada Revenue Agency Volunteer Income Tax Program Human Resources and Social Development Canada Black Business Initiative Junior Achievement Nova Scotia AIESEC Halifax Careers in Accounting The occupations noted below may be directly or indirectly related to Accounting. Some of these careers may require education beyond a Bachelor’s degree. Assurance Service Accountant Chief Cost Accountant Cost Accountant Entertainment Accountant
  4. 4. Forensic Accountant Government Accountant Health Care Accountant Hedge Fund Accountant Industrial Accountant Insurance Accountant Internal Insurance Accountant Junior Staff Accountant Managerial Accountant Plant Accountant Public Accountant Senior Staff Accountant Staff Accountant Stock Accountant Tax Accountant Account Manager Account Manager, Business Banking Account Manager, Personal Banking Accounting Clerk Accounting Consultant Accounting Software Consultant Accounting Supervisor of Statutory Reporting Actuary Area Manager for Business Banking Assessor Assistant Comptroller Audit Manager Auditor Bank Branch Manager Bank Customer Service Supervisor Bank Examiner Bankruptcy Specialist Benefits Administrator Billing Analyst Budget Analyst Bookkeeper
  5. 5. Budgetary Control Analyst Claims Adjuster Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Collections Agent Commercial Banker Commodities Trader Comptroller Consumer Credit Officer Cost Accounting Manager Credit and Collection Specialist Entrepreneur Estate Planner External Auditor Financial Analyst Financial Planner Financial Reporter General Auditor Industrial Buyer Internal Auditor International Trade Specialist Inventory Control Specialist Internal Revenue Investigator Loan Administrator Loan Officer Management Consultant Management Advisory Services Consultant Manager Methods and Procedures Specialist Partner in Chartered Accounting Firm Payroll Manager Personal Financial Planner Professional Speaker Professor Reinsurance Analyst Securities Broker Senior Manager
  6. 6. Senior Manager, Banking Call Centre Statistician Systems Analyst Tax Manager Tax Preparer Tax Specialist Tax Lawyer Treasurer Treasury Management Specialist Trust Accountant Underwriter Key Areas of Specialization Audit Audit is at the core of accounting work. Accounting auditing careers involve checking ledgers and financial statements within businesses, public and not-for-profit organizations. Being increasingly computerized, this work can rely on random sampling methods. This provides a solid foundation to future specialist work, as it enables you to understand how an organization makes money. Budget Analysis A Budget Analyst develops and manages an organization’s financial plans. Many jobs exist in government and private industry. You’ll require strong quantitative skills for this, along with good people skills, because you’ll be involved in negotiations. Financial Financial Accountants and Financial Analysts draw information from the general ledgers to prepare financial statements, evaluate financial risk, prepare financial
  7. 7. forecasts and financing scenarios. They also take part in the business’s important financial decisions including capital management including mergers and acquisitions, employee benefits planning and long-term financial projections. This work can vary from week to week, so there is a need for a combined understanding of accounting and finance. Investment Analysis Investment Analysts collect financial information about companies, stocks, bonds and other investments using daily stock and bond reports, economic forecasts, trading volumes, financial periodicals, and securities manuals. Management Accounting Management accountants work in companies and contribute to decisions about capital budgeting and business analysis. Major activities include cost analysis, contracts analysis, and participation in efforts to control expenses. Management accountants are now major contributors to business decisions, working alongside marketing, financial and executive managers to develop new business. Tax Tax accountants prepare corporate and personal income tax returns. They also prepare strategies for deferring taxes; when to expense items, how to approach a merger or acquisitions, etc. You need to have a thorough understanding of economics and the tax code. NOTE: In smaller companies accountants will be required for perform more than one area of accounting.
  8. 8. Settings of Accounting Careers Public Accounting Firms A group of accountants working in a partnership that provides accounting services to individuals, businesses and government. A number of major firms dominate this field, including; Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMG, Ernst & Young, Grant Thornton, etc. A public accounting career will give you a good start in your career, where you can gain foundation knowledge before moving to a specialist area. Most accounting firms require graduates to obtain a Chartered Accountant designation (discussed below). Government Government accountants may work at any level of government; municipal, provincial, and federal. They prepare budgets, track costs and analyze government initiatives. Prospects for advancement are generally good. Bureaucracy and political arguments are the down side. However, stability and good employee benefits and compensation are impressive. Corporations Businesses of all sizes usually have an accountant or accounting department that prepares financial statements, tracks costs, prepares budgets, handles tax returns and benefits remittances, and work on major transactions. The work is dynamic and prospects are good. To aspire to managerial levels an accounting designation is required (discussed below). Independent
  9. 9. Working as a self-employed accountant means generating your own business. However, you benefit from good customer contact, independence, and – if you are proficient – good returns. Conversely, you are in a more vulnerable position when business is not so good. Accounting Designations Accountants can obtain a professional accounting designation. There are three in Canada: Chartered Accountant, Certified Management Accountant and Certified General Accountant. Having a designation will increase earning potential and is usually required for senior management positions. Chartered Accountant (CA) CAs are business professionals who generally work in four key areas. About 40% of CAs are in public practice, while the other 60% are employed in industry, government, or education. CAs provide a wide range of services including; start-up counseling, purchase and sale of business, business valuations, business planning and financial projections, develop strategies for securing financing, corporate and personal income tax planning, information technology needs analysis, assurance (audits and reviews), preparation and analysis of financial information, acting as trustee for receivership, bankruptcy and insolvency, develop management controls, management consulting, financial accounting and litigation support. In order to study toward and obtain a CA designation you must be employed with an approved accounting firm or one of the few companies who are approved. To see the list view the CICA website listed below.
  10. 10. Certified Management Accountant (CMA) CMAs are educated in the ‘three pillars’ of the designation: accounting, management and strategy. CMAs are able to combine strategic vision with operational knowledge, enabling them to apply best management practices in a broad range of business functions. CMAs provide an integrated perspective to business decision making, applying advanced management practices in strategic planning, finance, operations, sales and marketing, information technology, and human resources to identify new market opportunities, ensure corporate accountability, and help organizations maintain a long-term competitive advantage. Most CMAs work within companies and in government. You can become a CMA Student Member while working on your Accounting degree. Certified General Accountant (CGA) CGAs operate accounting firms, providing tax and financial advice to individuals and businesses of all sizes, as well as work in top-level positions in industry, commerce, academia and government. CGAs offer expertise in taxation, finance, information technology, and strategic business management. For More Accounting Information Go To Chartered Accountants of Canada Society of Management Accountants of Canada Certified General Accountants Association of Canada
  11. 11. American Institute of Certified Public Accountants International Federation of Accountants Deloitte Grant Thornton Ernst & Young KPMG The AC Group of Independent Accounting Firms Limited Information on Accounting Careers Frequently Asked Questions on Accounting Careers Careers in Accounting
  12. 12. Accounting 101 is developed and distributed by Career Services with information adapted from career and university web sites, as well as professional associations.