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An accountant typically maintains financial records and handles other responsibilities in accounting and finance. A corporate accountant also performs these tasks, but on a more specialized and focused level. Corporate accountants usually specialize in business accounting and are experts at ensuring financial records comply with various regulations, laws and policies.
Corporate accountants may also oversee the work completed by the divisional and regional accounting groups within the company. All of this work is compiled into the overall financial reports.
To become a qualified job candidate, individuals first need to earn a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Some companies may also require the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) credential or Certified Management Accountant (CMA) credential.
Some of the required courses may include corporate finance, business analytics and auditing. The goal of these types of programs is for students to learn how to manage an entire accounting division that may include multiple offices and locations. While earning this degree, students should also learn how corporations are run and the regulations that are applied to various businesses.
In addition to ensuring the company is keeping in compliance with regulations, corporate accountants also need to prepare budgets for each department. They need to allocate funds for each department including supplies, hiring, investments and other departmental needs. The accountant’s job is to conduct audits to make sure the budget is being followed. Because executives typically set organizational goals based on the budgets, corporate accountants also need to make sure these goals are being met while staying under budget.
Accountants must be highly organized, as well as have an analytical mind. They should display strong communication skills when writing reports or when communicating with staff and other departments.
Some specific duties may include employee expense report processing; completing monthly cash flow analysis; preparing variance analysis to budget and forecast; and maintaining overall responsibility for accounts payable, receivable and payroll. Accountants are responsible for consolidating statements, the corporate wide audit and reviewing monthly subsidiary ledgers.
According to PayScale, the average annual salary of a corporate accountant is $51,524. While additional experience may not have a large effect on pay, certain skills may be more valuable. These skills may include payroll administration or SAP financial accounting and controlling.
Jobs in accounting are projected to grow 13 percent by 2022, as predicted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This percentage is dependent on the economy; as the economy grows, so will the need for employment in this and related fields. Some of the fields that employ corporate accountants include major retailers, manufacturers, government agencies, technology firms, biotechnology companies and environmental organizations.
Potential promotions include senior accountant, budget analyst, accounting manager and senior budget analyst.