An accountant is a person that does accounting or accountancy, which is the measurement, processing, and communication of financial information about economic entities such as businesses and corporations. This information helps managers, investors, tax authorities and others, make decisions about allocating resources. Most accountants are employed in commerce, industry and the public sector.
Professional accounting bodies maintain standards of practice and evaluations for accounting professionals. Accountants who are certified through these bodies can use titles such as Chartered Accountant, Chartered Certified Accountant or Certified Public Accountant. They are granted certain responsibilities such as the ability to certify an organization’s financial statements. Non-qualified accountants may be employed by a qualified accountant, or may work independently without statutory privileges and obligations.
Accounting can be divided into several fields, including, tax accounting, financial accounting, management accounting, cost accounting and external auditing. Financial accounting focuses on the reporting on an organization’s financial information, including the preparation of financial statements to external users of the information, such as investors, regulators and suppliers. Management accounting focuses on the measurement, analysis and reporting of information for internal use by management.