CAREER GUIDE FOR ACCOUNTANTS
Standard Occupational Code: 13-2011.01
Pay Band(s): 4, 5, and 6 (Salary Structure)
Analyze financial information and prepare financial reports to determine or maintain record of assets, liabilities, profit and loss, tax liability, or other financial activities within an organization.
Accountant positions in the Commonwealth primarily are assigned to roles in the Financial Services Career Group.
While Accountants within the Commonwealth are all located within the Financial Services Career Group, individuals may want to pursue other opportunities within the Commonwealth depending upon individual training, education, knowledge, skills, abilities, and interests.
Other Career Group(s) that may be of interest are:
SKILLS, KNOWLEDGE, ABILITIES AND TASKS
(Technical and Functional Expertise)
Note: The technical and functional knowledge statements listed below are based on general occupational qualifications for Accountants commonly recognized by most employers. Typically, you will not be required to have all of the knowledge listed to be a successful performer. Recruitment and selection standards for an individual state job must be based on the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities for that job as indicated in the job announcement and job description in the Employee Work Profile.
The Knowledge of:
Note: The technical and functional abilities listed below are based on general occupational qualifications for Accountants commonly recognized by most employers. Typically, you will not be required to have all of the abilities listed to be a successful performer. Recruitment and selection standards for an individual state job must be based on the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities for that job as indicated in the job announcement and job description in the Employee Work Profile.
The Ability to:
Note: The following is a list of sample tasks typically performed by Accountants. Employees in this occupation will not necessarily perform all of the tasks listed.
Like people, occupations have traits or characteristics. These characteristics give important clues about the nature of the work and work environment, and give you an opportunity to match your own personal interests to a specific occupation. When you choose a job in an occupation that matches your own interests you have taken an important step in planning a successful and rewarding career.
The accountant occupation has the following characteristics:
Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
Enterprising — Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
LICENSURE, REGISTRATION, OR CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS
Generally licensure is not required for Accountant positions in state government.
To learn more about becoming a Certified Public Accountant, visit the Virginia Board of Accountancy's web site at http://www.boa.state.va.us or call 804-367-8505.
The Department of Labor provides the following information on certification:
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) also offers members with valid CPA certificates the option to receive the Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV), Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP), or Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) designations. The addition of these designations to the CPA distinguishes those accountants with a certain level of expertise in the nontraditional areas in which accountants are practicing more frequently.
The Association of Government Accountants grants the Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM) designation for accountants, auditors, and other government financial personnel at the Federal, State, and local levels. To learn more about becoming a Certified Government Financial Manager, visit the Association of Government Accountants' web site at http://www.agacgfm.org/ or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) confers the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) designation upon applicants who complete a bachelor's degree or attain a minimum score on specified graduate school entrance exams.
The Accreditation Council for Accountancy and Taxation, a satellite organization of the National Society of Public Accountants, confers three designations—Accredited Business Accountant (ABA), Accredited Tax Advisor (ATA), and Accredited Tax Preparer (ATP)—on accountants specializing in tax preparation for small- and medium-sized businesses.
Certification enhances professional growth and career progression.
EDUCATIONAL, TRAINING, AND LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES
The Department of Labor provides the following information:
Government accountants and auditors work in the public sector, maintaining and examining the records of government agencies and auditing private businesses and individuals whose activities are subject to government regulations or taxation. Accountants employed by Federal, State, and local governments guarantee that revenues are received and expenditures are made in accordance with laws and regulations. Those who are employed by the Federal Government may work as Internal Revenue Service agents or in financial management, financial institution examination, or budget analysis and administration.
Most accountant and auditor positions require at least a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field. Beginning accounting and auditing positions in the Federal Government, for example, usually require 4 years of college (including 24 semester hours in accounting or auditing) or an equivalent combination of education and experience. Some employers prefer applicants with a master's degree in accounting, or with a master's degree in business administration with a concentration in accounting.
Professional associations that afford access to continuing education programs and are sources of educational, training, and learning opportunities include:
The State Council of Higher Education (SCHEV) lists many Virginia educational institutions offering programs in accounting on their web site: http://research.schev.edu/degreeinventory/inventory_
Competencies are a set of identified behaviors, knowledge, skills, and abilities that directly and positively impact the success of employees and the organization. Competencies can be observed and measured. When consistently demonstrated, competencies make employees particularly effective in their work. Competencies help lay out a road map to career success. You can use the Commonwealth Competencies to help improve your individual performance by adopting behaviors that make high performing employees successful in their jobs. In this way, you can use the Commonwealth Competencies for your further professional development.
The Commonwealth Competencies are:
The above competencies may be applied to employees throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. They can be rank-ordered by agencies and hiring managers to represent the needs of a specific job. The rank ordering will change depending upon the occupation, an organization's priorities, the actual job requirements, and the supervisor's preferences.
Career success is both about what you do (applying your technical knowledge, skills, and ability) and how you do it (the consistent behaviors you demonstrate and choose to use) while interacting and communicating with others. Hopefully, by studying the Commonwealth competencies, identifying your developmental opportunities, and working to refine your own competence, you can take charge of your career!
For additional information about the Commonwealth Competencies go to: http://jobs.virginia.gov/cd_main.html. For the competencies, we first list the competencies and then define each. Finally, we list competency indicators; to describe what successful performance looks like.
COMMONWEALTH CAREER PATH
Career opportunities in the Commonwealth are not limited to moving “up” to the next highest role and pay band, changing positions, or to becoming a supervisor. That's because most roles describe a broad group of occupationally related positions that perform a range of work that requires increased knowledge and skills. For that reason, Commonwealth roles describe the career paths within the same or higher-level role for the same or different Career Group. The broad salary range and the Commonwealth's pay practices provide flexibility in recognizing career development and advancement. (Salary Structure)
For example: Accountant
Sample Career Path
Financial Specialist I
The Financial Specialist I role provides career tracks for accountants performing entry-level to first-line supervisory responsibilities ensuring or evaluating compliance and accountability of financial programs and business operations/processes.
Financial Specialist II
The Financial Services Specialist II role provides career tracks for financial analysts performing advanced-level responsibilities analyzing and evaluating data in one or more specialty areas including, but not limited to, resources management, business operations/processes, budgets, and financial systems. An applicable professional certification may be preferred. Employees are required to have strong technical knowledge in one or more specialty areas.
Financial Specialist III
The Financial Services Specialist III role provides career track for expert financial specialists who provide professional financial, analytical, technical, and policy/program expertise relating to areas such as reimbursements. Employees may serve as project leaders or as expert resources to state agencies, the legislature, and other organizations.
Financial Services Manager I
The Financial Services Manager I role provides career tracks for first level managers involved in planning and managing assigned specialty areas such as grants, accounts payable, accounts receivable, taxation, budgeting, and other financial operations. Employees may be the single position through which all financial information flows. Employees have technical and supervisory skills to include serving as subject matter experts and performing personnel management tasks.
Financial Services Manager II
The Financial Services Manager II role provides career tracks for senior level managers involved in planning, organizing, and administering personnel and programs relating to one or more specialized areas such as resource management, business operations, budget, and financial systems. Employees typically manage professional employees and/or supervisors.
Financial Services Manager III
The Financial Services Manager III role provides career tracks for managers serving as directors or comptrollers involved in the overall direction and leadership of specialized financial programs. May direct the overall fiscal or audit management of an agency or institution having diverse and complicated financial and regulatory requirements or may direct the statewide function of a principle financial area to ensure achievement of organizational mission and goals.
Financial Services Manager IV
The Financial Services Manager IV role provides career tracks for executives responsible for policies, procedures, and standards that ensure the protection of the Commonwealth's fiscal assets and meet program goals. Employees have statutory and regulatory (both state and federal) responsibilities to provide for the development and maintenance of financially sound, high-quality programs and services.
ADDITIONAL OCCUPATIONAL INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND AT:
O*NET (Occupational Information Network)
Virginia Employment Commission
Career One Stop
Virginia Career Resource Network
American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
National Association of State Boards of Accountancy
Institute of Management Accountants
Accreditation Council for Accountancy and Taxation
Association of Government Accountants