hiring an accountant for our small charitable organization

Everything You Need To Know About An Accountant

If you like to work with numbers or being in charge of finances and records, it may be in your interest to look into becoming an accountant. An accountant is responsible for many tasks, but the thing they're most known for is filing taxes for clients. 

What Is an Accountant?

Accountants are responsible for interpreting and recording financial information. They can do this for individual clients or they can do this for small businesses and large corporations. Some businesses may hire a third-party accountant to handle their finances. Others may hire one or more accountants to work in-house.

What Does an Accountant Do?

Accountants are well known for assisting people and businesses with their taxes. However, this is not the extent of their duties. 

‚ÄčOther duties an accountant is responsible for include:

  • Submitting tax payments on time
  • Ensuring financial documents are in compliance
  • Creating financial reports
  • Creating financial risk analyses
  • Ensuring profit maximization 

Accountants may be thought to be bookkeepers, but that's not always the case. 

Accountant vs. Bookkeeper

It's commonly mistaken that the term bookkeeper and accountant go hand-in-hand. This is not true. While an accountant can also be a bookkeeper, a bookkeeper will not also be an accountant. 

Bookkeepers are responsible for gathering and recording financial information while accountants are responsible for interpreting and advising that financial information. Accountants would generally have attended more school than bookkeepers would. 

Important Skills

As an accountant, you will need to have exceptional attention to detail and accuracy. When it comes to financial documents, it's crucial for a business to have accurate and correct documents for their records and in case of an audit. 

Other important skills an accountant should possess include:

  • Computer proficiency
  • Math skills
  • Communication skills
  • Analytic skills


To become an accountant, you will typically need a bachelor's degree at a minimum. However, you can go on to get a master's degree and CPA certification. This will give you an edge if you're just entering the field. The requirements to become an accountant can vary slightly depending on the state you are in. Bookkeepers only need to obtain an associate's degree. 


The salary of an accountant can also vary depending on the state you are in. However, in 2020 the average annual salary of an accountant was $81,660. This is compared to the $44,100 that bookkeepers averaged. Attending school for a couple more years can almost double your yearly salary.