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Job Descriptions


Accountants can be employed in a variety of work settings - including accounting firms, private companies, public organizations (e.g., universities), or the government. They can also be self-employed and work from their own home. If you are an accountant, you will have some clearly defined and repetitive tasks (e.g., maintaining accounts payable, preparing invoices).


This job typically requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in accounting. In addition, licensure/certification as a Certified Public Accountant can also be required (CPA). Affiliation with professional associations and continued training can often be required as well.

Previous Experience

This job may require previous experience as an accountant, however if you have the required education and skills, it is strongly encouraged that you apply.

Job Duties

  • Set up and maintain accounting systems using computer programs.
  • Enter financial data into accounting programs, spreadsheets, or databases.
  • Maintain accounts payable and receivable.
  • Reconciling bank accounts and paying bills.
  • Issue pay checks or other expense checks.
  • Sales and employment tax preparation.
  • Supervise any administrative personnel or accounting assistants.
  • Your supervisor may ask you to carry out additional duties than those listed here.

What’s Your Scene?

For some jobs, it depends on whether you work mainly with the public (e.g., clients / customers) or just co-workers. For example, this job requires that you are able to work "Out of the Scene." If you are working as the "in-house" accountant for one particular company, you may not be working with the public on a regular basis. You may be required to speak with and interact with co-workers (depending on if you work alone from home or in an office) as well as your supervisor or client to help meet his/her accounting needs. 


This job requires that you are able to work ‘In the Scene.' If you are working as an accountant, you will be working with clients on a regular basis.  You may be speaking with and interacting with clients daily and you will also need to interact with co-workers (e.g., other accountants) and supervise others (e.g., accountant assistants) regularly.

Skills / Abilities

Customer Service Skills  - If you are working with clients, you will need to know how to provide excellent customer service.  This includes being able to determine if the customer is satisfied, and to meet their needs. It requires the ability to accept complaints from customers, and to calmly deal with high stress situations and angry customers. Displaying a pleasant and cooperative attitude is important.

Reading Comprehension - Demonstrated ability to read, and follow written instructions and ideas.

Oral Comprehension - Demonstrated ability to understand and follow verbal instructions and ideas.

Oral Expression - You will be required to speak clearly and effectively.

Written Expression - You will be required to write and spell correctly.

Computer knowledge - You will need to have some knowledge of computers as you may need to enter information into an accounting program on a computer.

Manual Dexterity - This job requires the repeated and coordinated use of your arms, hands, wrists, and fingers to use a computer keyboard to type and to use a calculator.

Organization and Prioritization - This job requires the ability to clearly organize and categorize work priorities to complete your work.

Environmental Demands

Location - If you work in an office, you will be indoors in a climate-controlled setting. If you work from home, you may choose your own work location.

Noise Level - The noise level will be low in an office setting.

Lighting Level - The lighting level will be dependent on your employer. If you work in an office setting at work, you may have to work in florescent lighting. If you are able to work from home, then you can choose your lighting level.

Work Hours - This job may have full-time hours (40 hours per week), during regular business hours (9am-5pm).  However, you may be working on a project with a deadline that requires you work more than 40 hours a week (e.g., during tax season). If you work from home, you may be able to come up with your own schedule.

Amount of Movement - This job typically requires that you sit for long periods of time.

Cleanliness and Odors - This job setting is generally clean. You will also want to make sure you keep your work area and surrounding areas neat and tidy.

Work attire - Work attire will typically be business casual clothing.

Structure and Predictability - This job will typically have a moderate degree of structure and predictability.  This means that you will sometimes complete the same tasks each day but you may not be able to complete these tasks in the same order each day (e.g., calculating pay).  You will probably know how long each task should take you to complete.  You will probably work in the same area each day and you will probably interact with the same co-workers. However, you will probably interact with different clients on a regular basis. 

What's the Pace?

    • Steady:  In most cases, the work pace will be steady, which means that there will always be 1-2 clients with whom you are working. 
    • Peak: There might be other times when it is very busy (e.g., tax season) and there are 10 or more clients in need of your assistance.  This may be a more stressful period because you may be working on multiple accounts.
    • Slow: There may also be some "down time," when there with few clients to assist.  This may be a more boring period, where you are required to just wait for a client to give you work. 


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