What is a corporate accountant and what do they do?

Accountants are qualified professionals employed by organisations or private clients to audit accounts, record business transactions, prepare annual reports and financial statements and provide financial advice. They may also be involved in the creation of processes within an organisation and advise on tax laws and investment opportunities. Their key objective is to ensure that companies are operating efficiently and effectively

Accountants can be employed directly by an organisation (‘in industry’) or work in an accountancy firm (‘in practice’). A corporate accountant is an accountant that is employed directly by an organisation (‘in industry’)

An accountant employed in industry is typically focused on ensuring the financial and operational activities of the company are correctly recorded, controlled & monitored and that management have the information necessary to make informed business decisions. Corporate accountants can have many different responsibilities, but are commonly involved in for the preparation and monitoring of the financial records of that company (and associated subsidiaries), financial planning and analysis, providing management information and ensuring compliance with laws, regulations and the organisation’s policies.

Key responsibilities

Responsibilities will vary, but examples include:

  • Preparing annual statutory accounts and managing annual audits
  • Managing the month end process and preparing and presenting monthly management accounts
  • Providing commentary on financial performance
  • Preparing budgets and monitoring expenditures
  • Analysing finances to determine risks and creating forecasts
  • Analysing data to assist with decision-making
  • Submitting quarterly VAT returns
  • Carrying out bank reconciliations
  • Maintaining and updating fixed asset records
  • Managing cash flow and bank balances
  • Providing advice to the senior management team and shareholders

Why are they important?

Corporate accountants plays an essential role in running a business because they help companies track income and expenditures and ensure statutory compliance. Corporate accountants make sure all financial information is visible and organised and they provide investors and management with financial information which can be used in strategic planning and business decisions

Skills needed for this role

Corporate accountants require excellent analytical and organisational skills, as well as the ability to manage deadlines. They must have a good commercial awareness with strong communication and interpersonal skills.

Strategic Professional Options examinations linked to this role

Advanced Financial Management

Advanced Performance Management

Career opportunities presented by this role

Corporate accountant opportunities exist across a variety of privately held or publicly traded companies and the career path to senior management positions is well-structured.

Competencies

High level competencies required include:

  • Corporate and business reporting

    A. Prepares financial statements, corporate financial and integrated reports for external stakeholders using appropriate technology.

    B. Leads effective decision making through analysing, evaluating and communicating performance and position of entities.

    C. Prepares financial statements for groups of entities using appropriate technologies.

    D. Monitors, critically evaluates, and advises on the relevant accounting standards, regulations, conceptual and financial reporting frameworks.

  • Data, digital and technology

    A. Identifies strategic options to add value, using data and technology.

    B. Analyses and evaluates data using appropriate technologies and tools.

    C. Applies technologies to visualise data clearly and effectively.

    D. Applies scepticism and ethical judgement to the use of data and data technology.

  • Financial management

    A. Links developments in global trade, markets, business practices and the economic environment to required improvements in the financial and risk management of an organisation.

    B. Advises on business asset valuations, capital projects and investments using appropriate analytical qualitative and quantitative techniques.

    C. Identifies, evaluates and advises on alternative sources of business finance and different ways of raising finance.

    D. Communicates and advises on the impact on financial decision making on current developments in regulation, governance and ethics.

    E. Assesses and advises on appropriate strategies to manage business and organisational performance regarding business and finance risk and effectively communicates the impact.

     

  • Governance, risk and control

    A - Evaluates organisational structures and governance to protect the long-term interests of stakeholders.

    B - Recommends appropriate strategies to ensure adherence to governance structures and application of best practice internal controls.

    C - Identifies and manages risk appropriately.

    D - Uses risk management for the best interests of an organisation and its stakeholders.

    E - Monitors and applies relevant legislation, policies and procedures.
     

  • Management accounting

    A. Applies development and performance management, in the wider business and technological environment, within the context of strategic planning and implementation.

    B. Directs organisational performance through the selection and measurement of financial and non-financial performance indicators.

    C. Collaborates on the key tactical and organisational areas of budgeting and control, capital investments, people and resource management.

    D. Consults on the design and use of current and emerging technology and information systems to improve strategic decision-making and organisational performance.