What is a technical accountant and what do they do?

In a constantly evolving regulatory environment, it is increasingly difficult for companies to keep ahead of new reporting requirements, and they require assistance in applying these standards. Technical accounting comprises of specialists in regulatory and reporting standards, including International Accounting Standards (IAS), Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (e.g. US & UK GAAP) and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS)

Technical accountants are responsible for providing expert technical accounting advice and guidance which includes implementing new changes, requirements and improvements. They also provide advice on the potential implications of any regulatory changes. In addition, Technical Accountants lead all the technical accounting preparation for the team, advise the commercial teams and prepare accounting policies in line with accepted industry practices.

Key responsibilities

  • Supporting the production of the annual report and accounts and other financial reports
  • Assisting with interpretation and implementation of new regulatory and reporting standards and amendments
  • Providing post-implementation support and training
  • Owning the statutory reporting and group reporting templates to ensure they are up to date
  • Work closely with the business to ensure that changes in accounting policies are implemented properly
  • Improving the organisation’s documentation of policies and procedures to enhance the quality of financial reporting
  • Acting as a point of contact for external auditors on any technical accounting matters
  • Supporting with technical accounting papers for the Audit Committee

Why are they important?

Given the constant changes in accounting reporting requirements, it is increasingly important for companies to have access to up-to-date advice from technical accountants on forthcoming changes to reporting requirements and the implications to their businesses

Skills needed for this role

Technical Accountants must have an outstanding knowledge of applicable reporting standards. Individuals must also have excellent analytical skills, strong attention to detail, as well as the ability to multi-task and work to deadlines. Good communication skills are also highly beneficial for this role

Strategic Professional Options examinations linked to this role

Advanced Performance Management

Advanced Audit and Assurance

Career opportunities presented by this role

Technical accountancy is a more specialist role; however, opportunities exist in-house (for example, within the banking sector) as well as in some of the larger accountancy firms. The skills and knowledge that a technical accountant possesses also serves them well to move across to positions involving financial control.

Competencies

High level competencies required include:

  • Audit and assurance

    A. Advises on and communicates effectively the role and scope of audit and assurance engagements to relevant stakeholders.

    B. Applies regulatory, legal, professional and ethical standards relating to audit and assurance engagements.

    C. Plans and prepares for audit and assurance engagements.

    D. Performs effective audit, and assurance engagements.

    E. Reviews and reports on the findings of audit and assurance engagements.

    F. Guiding efficient and effective operations.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Stakeholder relationship management

    A. Positively develops relationships with internal and external stakeholders.

    B. Communicates and gains commitment from internal and external stakeholder.

    C. Uses emerging technologies to collaborate and communicate effectively with stakeholders.

    D. Applies professional and ethical judgement when engaging with stakeholders.

    E. Aligns organisational strategic objectives with stakeholder needs and manages expectations.