For those of you who think all accountants spend their 9 to 5 "crunching numbers" and doing basic addition and subtraction, I brought in an expert to set us all straight. I interviewed a local accountant, who's also a soon-to-be CPA in a few months (Certified Public Accountant). He works at a public accounting firm. Despite what you might think, he does NOT carry a calculator around in his shirt pocket and he only wears glasses when his contacts are bugging him.
Hello Jake, can you start by describing the commonly mistaken differences between a "tax accountant" and an "auditor" ?
Tax accountants do taxes, taxes only.
Auditors look at the entire company and test the balances on the financial statements examples, cash, accounts receivable, accts payable, revenue, debt, etc. You know, the stuff you see on a the financial statements. Wait, you're telling me you've never seen a financial statement
Next Q, what's a financial statement?
It basically gives an update of a company's "general health", get it now? And it lets investors know how the company they are investing in is doing. Or, it lets banks that have loans out to these companies how that company is doing so the bank knows the company will keep making payments on their loans.
So as an auditor how do you spend most of your working time?
During busy season, probably 99% of the time I'm at a client from 8:00 to 6:30p.m. and then I'll work at home after dinner. Sometimes auditors are required to go out company plants and count inventory, for example, ethanol plants where you measure volume of corn piles using geometry and climbing up grain bins.
So is your busy season over April 15th?
No, see question #1 I'm not a tax accountant.
My busy season as an auditor is January through May. For some auditors it could be all year round depending on when a company's year-end is that they are working on. Really, #auditlyfe never stops!
What are some of the most fun parts of your job?
The people I work with, and interacting with clients.
Do you get to travel with your job?
Yeah, it depends on the client. You get to travel to different parts of Nebraska during the week or to different states and sometimes to different countries.
What do you recommend for college students thinking about accounting.
Definitely shadow, or do an internship to get a feel for the job. Your coursework in college is nothing like what your' position would be like as an auditor for a public accounting firm. You don't know what to expect until you are in the field. Also, public and private accounting jobs are different.
Difference between public accounting jobs and private accounting jobs?
In public accounting, what I do, you are doing taxes for a company or auditing a company by making sure account balances (cash, accts payable, AR, revenue, you get the picture...) are correct by developing procedures to test these balances and setting our own independent expectations over these balances. In a private accounting job, you run day to day accounting operations for your company where you post the entries to the accounting system which is used to create the financial statements.
So do you spend your 9 to 5 crunching numbers?
No, I'm done with this interview, I have to go work.
P.S. This is Al , the job is not 9 to 5 , most days during busy season it goes until about midnight.
There you have it, to see more #auditlyfe head to Jake's snapchat @bakejell33 where he posts his hobbies besides auditing. <<Spoiler, mostly they are food and drink. >>
If you have a question he didn't answer, comment down below!