What is an accountant, exactly? What are its mission and intervention areas? Although it is a secular career, the profession of a chartered accountant is fraught with rumors and stereotypes. We isolate the facts from the fiction and dispel the myths that surround chartered accounting.
Myths about accountants
He lines up columns of numbers all day.
“Are you a bookkeeper? Do you spend your days working with Excel? It is arguably the most common stereotype about the industry. A cabinetmaker does not spend his days chopping wood. If manipulating and processing encrypted data is one of the accountant’s responsibilities, not everyone is gifted in math and can solve differential equations in their spare time. It’s not the formations themselves that matter, but their interpretations and conclusions.
Especially now that you may easily automate most low-value-added operations in the digital age, for example, with supplier invoices, you free up your accountant (or CFO) to focus on their primary business when you choose to dematerialize your firm bills.
He only works during tax season.
The burden is substantially heavier during this time. However, this does not imply that accountants are inactive for the remainder of the year. To begin with, while most businesses complete their fiscal year on December 31, this is not necessarily the issue: they can choose a different date (for practical reasons).
The accountant works to ensure his company’s health and financial security (or that of his clients). He oversees the following:
Bookkeeping; tax filings (VAT, CFE, etc.); predictions, accounting balance sheets, and accounting adjustments; the company’s interaction with its suppliers/service providers to seek funding: and so on.
He doesn’t talk to anyone.
The picture of the professional huddled behind his computer screen at his workplace is likewise misleading. The finest chartered accountants are those who listen well: they counsel, gather information, inform, travel to the field, take notes, schedule meetings, and so on. The relational component is critical in this field. The chartered accountant is frequently the preferred interlocutor of the manager(s) in VSEs/SMEs. He is also in control of the company’s relationships with suppliers and service providers.
It’s a man’s job/senior.
No, no, and no. Accountants (and all finance professions in general) are culturally linked with masculine role models. However, attitudes are gradually shifting. The career of a chartered accountant is always appealing, even if it appears to be archaic. Not just men: according to a survey by the CIDJ guide from 2018, women hold 66% of positions in the sector. We also see a significant increase in registrations: women account for between 37 and 40% of individuals who join the order each year.
But that’s not all: the Superior Council of the Order of Chartered Accountants reports that 60% of women who take the entrance exam pass, compared to 55% of men.
Concerning the issue of age, it turns out that 22% of employees in the industry are under the age of 30.
Although many chartered accountants operate in shirts and suit pants, they rarely wear a tie or waistcoat. Similarly, few women wear suits every day (but many wear heels). It only takes a closer look to notice that people at companies are more likely to be dressed in jeans and sneakers than in suits and ties straight out of an episode of Suits.
It would help if you had a bac+8 to become a chartered accountant.
Both yes and no. The famous Diplomat Expert-Compatible (DEC), which separates them from accountants, takes at least eight years of study (read our article to better understand the difference between accountant and accountant). However, that is only one method of working in accounting. You can obtain many more occupations in this field with a master’s degree or even a license. For instance:
The DCG (Diploma of Management Accounting) is a bac+3 level qualification that permits you to work as a Payroll Manager, Accountant, or Tax Inspector.
At the bac+5 level, the DSCG (Higher Diploma in Accounting and Management) qualifies you to work as an internal or external auditor, management controller, chief accountant, or credit manager.
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