Page 2: The need for accountants to be qualified
Reputable organisations want to work with reputable accountants. That means dealing only with accountants who have an officially recognised qualification. To be properly qualified, accountants must have passed examinations that make them eligible for membership of one or more professional accounting bodies, such as ACCA.
Qualified accountants can specialise in many areas, including:
- corporate finance
- management accounting.
Some accountants become specialists in the concerns of particular industries, such as sport, entertainment and farming, or types of organisation - charities, multi-national companies or hospital trusts.
They are able to apply their accounting skills to businesses with which they are familiar and whose particular needs they understand, meaning they can do a better job and add more value through the services they give their clients. Some accountants now specialise in new areas of business interest such as the pursuit of sustainability, and social and environmental reporting. Accountants have a big contribution to make in showing that a 'green' approach towards production need not reduce profitability.
Accountants are often called on to give advice on particular projects e.g. an organisation's plan to automate production, or to diversify its operations. Qualified accountants who have taken rigorous exams and belong to professional bodies are therefore at the heart of decision-taking. They have a responsibility to ensure that the accounting functions are carried out to the highest possible standards. They must do all they can to ensure that the information which an organisation provides for its stakeholders really is a 'true and fair account' of the organisation, its activities, and its current financial health.
For much of the time, accountants can be sure of the full co-operation of organisations in achieving this goal, but there are other occasions when accountants may find themselves being asked to perform accounting and auditing services for an organisation which is attempting, if it can, to mislead its stakeholders.