Chartered Accountant Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Chartered Accountant (CA), or a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), is a professionally qualified Accountant who helps businesses manage their finances effectively. Their duties include giving financial advice, reporting on the financial performance of a company and auditing financial statements.


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Chartered Accountant duties and responsibilities

The range and type of duties of a Chartered Accountant depend on factors like their position and the size of the company they work for. Those who work at smaller companies, for instance, may have a broader scope of duties than their counterparts who work at large firms. Typically, Chartered Accountants who work for large corporations focus on a specific accounting function, such as auditing. In general, however, the job may involve the following day-to-day activities:

  • Preparing financial statements, business plans and budget reports
  • Advising clients on large business transactions, such as mergers and acquisitions
  • Collaborating with internal and external auditors and dealing with any financial irregularities as they arise
  • Building strong relationships with clients and becoming their trusted financial advisors
  • Advising clients or management on tax planning and tax issues and managing the filing of tax returns
  • Managing and mentoring trainees and junior Accountants 
  • Assisting companies that are experiencing financial issues and advising them on how to move forward


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What does a Chartered Accountant do?

Chartered Accountants can specialise in various accounting areas, including audit and assurance, applied finance, management accounting and financial accounting and reporting. However, some Chartered Accountants provide services across multiple accounting functions. In addition, these professionals can also oversee a company’s entire accounting department. Chartered Accountants can work for a variety of non-profit and for-profit organisations. These include banks, investment brokerages, corporations, charities, hospitals, educational institutions and private practice firms.


Chartered Accountant skills and qualifications

To succeed in their job, Chartered Accountants need a mix of both technical and non-technical skills. Non-technical skills include strong interpersonal skills, as these professionals need to develop and maintain strong relationships with clients and fellow employees. Chartered Accountants also need strong communication skills, including the ability to actively listen to stakeholders and also clearly relay information. In addition, the job requires the following skills:

  • A methodical approach and strong problem-solving skills to solve financial reporting errors
  • Strong mathematical skills for analysing numbers and performing calculations
  • A high level of computer literacy, including knowledge of relevant software applications, such as accounting packages
  • Sound business acumen to effectively support and guide strategic business decisions
  • Excellent analytical skills to sift through lots of data and make accurate conclusions


Chartered Accountant experience requirements

The level of experience a Chartered Accountant needs depends on the position. Apart from taking on trainees, employers are often willing to hire newly qualified Chartered Accountants for junior positions. The reason for this is that the training programmes that these professionals undergo all include substantial on-the-job training. However, those who are applying for more senior positions or specialist posts will need to show more experience. Employers may ask for experience in a specific area, such as forensic accounting or corporate finance. Candidates may also need proven experience in managing a portfolio of clients or leading a team of Accountants.


Chartered Accountant education and training requirements

There are various paths candidates can take to become a Chartered Accountant. Although an undergraduate degree in accounting or a related field may be beneficial, it’s possible to become a Chartered Accountant without a degree. The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS), for instance, offers separate training routes for school leavers, graduates and experienced finance professionals. Those who enter a programme directly after leaving school typically take around five years before they qualify. As part of the programme, candidates are placed at an ICAS-authorised employer where they obtain 750 days of practical on-the-job experience.


Chartered Accountant salary expectations

According to Indeed Salaries, the average salary for an Accountant is £34,642 per year. However, their salary will vary depending on factors like location and employer.


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Chartered Accountant job description FAQs


What are the hours of a Chartered Accountant?

Chartered Accountants typically have Monday to Friday, 40-hour work schedules. However, the job may involve working overtime during busier periods, such as when corporate taxes are due.


What's the difference between an Accountant and a Chartered Accountant?

As opposed to Accountants, Chartered Accountants are professionally qualified and are members of a professional body, such as ICAS or the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA). Accountants offer basic accounting services, such as general ledger entries and monthly financial reporting. In contrast, Chartered Accountants offer specialised services, including performing complex financial analyses and audits.


What's the difference between a Chartered Accountant and a Certified Public Accountant?

The main difference between the two job titles is that a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is an American designation. Most other countries use the Chartered Accountant (CA) designation to refer to roughly the same role.

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