Chartered accountant designation is worldwide, and it refers to professional accountants who are qualified to take on a number of specific activities within the spectrum of accountancy. Such tasks include auditing financial statements, filing of corporate tax returns and financial advising. While the name is seen around the globe, in the United States, the equivalent position is known as a certified public accountant, or CPA. The professional body that governs this group of accounting workers goes back to 1854 where it was founded in Britain. There are now several associations that act as governing and accrediting bodies for these professionals, such as the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.
Roles of Chartered Accountants in Business
A competent professional accountant in business is an invaluable asset to the company. These individuals employ an inquiring mind to their work founded on the basis of their knowledge of the company’s financials. Using their skills and intimate understanding of the company and the environment in which it operates, professional accountants in business ask challenging questions. Their training in accounting enables them to adopt a pragmatic and objective approach to solving issues. This is a valuable asset to management, particularly in small and medium enterprises where the professional accountants are often the only professionally qualified members of staff.
Accountancy professionals in business assist with corporate strategy, provide advice and help businesses to reduce costs, improve their top line and mitigate risks. As board directors, professional accountants in business represent the interest of the owners of the company (i.e., shareholders in a public company). Their roles ordinarily include: governing the organization (such as, approving annual budgets and accounting to the stakeholders for the company’s performance); appointing the chief executive; and determining management’s compensation. As chief financial officers, professional accountants have oversight over all matters relating to the company’s financial health. This includes creating and driving the strategic direction of the business to analysing, creating and communicating financial information. As internal auditors, professional accountants provide independent assurance to management that the organization’s risk management, governance and internal control processes are operating effectively. They also offer advice on areas for enhancements. In the public sector, professional accountants in government shape fiscal policies that had far-reaching impacts on the lives of many. Accountants in academia are tasked with the important role of imparting the knowledge, skills and ethical underpinnings of the profession to the next generation.
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