Senior Accountant Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Senior Accountant, or Senior Accounting Officer, is responsible for overseeing the financial and accounting practices of a company. Their duties include creating and analysing financial reports, delegating accounting tasks to other team members and reconciling financial statements.


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Senior Accountant duties and responsibilities

Senior Accountants are responsible for ensuring the smooth running of a finance or an accounting department. They need to combine their leadership responsibilities with day-to-day accounting duties, such as data input and reporting. Some of their most important duties and responsibilities include:

  • Assisting with accounting tasks such as invoicing or tracking purchase order numbers
  • Creating staff payrolls and approving client or supplier payments
  • Investigating accounting irregularities, mistakes or potential fraud
  • Producing regular financial reports, such as budgets or cash flow forecasts
  • Offering advice and suggestions to management that can improve the accounting processes and financial stability of a company
  • Reconciling balance sheets 
  • Ensuring compliance with legal accounting standards


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What does a Senior Accountant do?

A Senior Accountant usually handles a team of Accountants and Junior Accountants within a company. Senior Accountants usually work within a larger finance department. They organise and delegate financial tasks to other team members within their remit. A Senior Accountant’s main task is to to keep financial records up to date and ensure accurate application of a company’s monetary policies.

On a day-to-day basis, a Senior Accountant also compiles financial reports, provides analysis and offers financial advice to senior members of the company. Senior Accountants may also be required to work closely with clients, providing expert financial advice or accounting recommendations depending on the type of employment. They lead by example to ensure the financial security of the business.


Senior Accountant skills and qualifications

Senior Accountants require leadership skills as well as practical mathematical and accounting knowledge and need to have accounting qualifications. They have a strong eye for detail and the confidence to deal with senior management and clients. A successful Senior Accountant candidate will have various prerequisite skills and qualifications need to succeed in the role, these include:

  • Strong skills working with spreadsheets such as Excel
  • Ability to work with accounting software such as QuickBooks
  • Ability to present complex accounting information in an easy to understand format
  • Excellent arithmetic and mathematical skills
  • Ability to delegate tasks
  • Leadership skills and the ability to motivate a team to produce results
  • Excellent customer service and client satisfaction skills


Senior Accountant experience requirements

A Senior Accountant needs a minimum of five years’ prior experience working in an accounting role. A successful candidate must have worked as an Accountant Technician or Bookkeeper and be familiar with accounting procedures. Experience leading a small team and liaising with senior members of a company, particularly a Chief Financial Officer, is beneficial. Experience overseeing tasks and organising a department is also a plus.


Senior Accountant education and training requirements

Senior Accountants have a strong base in mathematics. Formal accounting certificates demonstrate that a candidate has the knowledge and skill base to succeed in the role. Advanced certifications in Microsoft Office are also desirable.

A Senior Accountant must have strong GCSE and A-Level results, particularly in maths. Apprenticeships can offer the training and qualifications necessary to qualify as an accountant, before the candidate works their way up to the Senior Accountant role. Commonly, candidates will study for a degree in maths, economics or accounting at a university. Candidates can earn specific accountancy qualifications from reputed organisations such as the Institute of Chartered Accountants.


Senior Accountant salary expectations

According to Indeed Salaries, the average salary for a Senior Accountant is £33,947 per year. Compensation may be dependent on experience, location and company.


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Senior Accountant job description FAQs


Who will a Senior Accountant report to?

A Senior Accountant usually reports to members of the senior management team within their company. They may also report directly to a Chief Financial Officer (CFO), who is in charge of broader financial and accounting decisions.


What makes for a good Senior Accountant job description?

A good Senior Accountant job description provides an excellent overview of the company, including the company values and ethos. A useful job description also details the day-to-day tasks of a Senior Accountant as well as the broader responsibilities in a leadership role.


What should you look for in a Senior Accountant CV?

An ideal Senior Accountant CV must demonstrate that the candidate already has a firm grounding in accountancy and financial practices. It should also show that they have previously worked in the field and have the relevant qualifications. More importantly, a good CV for this senior role must demonstrate a proven track record in the ability to lead and succeed.

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