What Does a Staff Accountant Do?
According to Payscale, a staff accountant is in charge of various financial duties that include reporting, budgeting and auditing. As illustrated below, the actual work duties of staff accountants will depend on the industry and the organization.
In a regular business office, staff accountants are responsible for applying accounting principles through recording, reconciling and monitoring financial information. They may reconcile revenue, accruals, fixed assets, accounts receivable and debt related accounts. They may compile and submit financial information, such as journal entry and business transaction summaries, to management. Senior staff accountants analyze financial information that involves assets, capital and liabilities. They then prepare consolidation reports, such as balance sheets and profit and loss statements, which summarize current and projected financial trends. Some staff accountants develop budgets and variance reports related to regional and national financial performances.
Property staff accountants work for entrepreneurial real estate and property development companies. They are responsible for recording, verifying, computing and classifying financial data from property and real estate transactions. Senior staff works closely with property managers or real estate developers to maintain tenant relations and accurate tenant ledgers, which requires them to update monthly bills and lease information. They also reconcile property charges, verify commission calculations and perform monthly account reviews and analyses. Real estate property staff accountants verify cash receipts, account postings and mortgages and management fees. They also prepare year-end tax files for individual property portfolios and real estate holdings.
Insurance-based staff accountants are in charge of processing accounts and payable transactions. They must ensure that the company meets internal standards and external regulations through providing timely and accurate customer service to vendors, claimants, and policyholders. These staff accountants work in accounting teams that perform month end closing duties that includes account analysis, reporting and reconciliation. Entry-level accountants will receive and verify that invoices and transactions comply with basic financial policies and internal controls. They prepare payments, invoice batches and manages check runs. Senior insurance staff accountants perform quality assurance duties through exporting and meticulously examining claim data.
Staff accountants with ample experience and a master’s degree will most likely become staff accountant supervisors. These experienced professionals will support their teams in performing daily, month-end and quarterly tasks. These may be anything from monitoring cash flow to preparing journal entries to performing quick account reconciliations to meet tight reporting deadlines. Supervisors of staff accountants perform detailed reviews of bank, investment and balance sheet reconciliations every month. They ensure that their subordinates apply payments properly, generate invoices on a timely basis and manage the accounts receivable process. Staff supervisors must be familiar with state and federal regulations as well as accounting policies, industry standards and third party payable vendor expectations.
A staff accountant will generally have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited four year program in either finance or accounting. These programs will familiarize students with auditing, taxation, statistics and economics. Students will learn about IRS regulations, international accounting standards and Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.
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