The role of a chartered accountant covers many aspects of finance work, including:
- continuous management of financial systems and budgets;
- undertaking financial audits (an independent check of an organisation's financial position);
- providing financial advice.
In public practice, tasks carried out by a chartered accountant include:
- liaising with clients (individuals or businesses) and providing financial information and advice;
- reviewing the company's systems and analysing risk;
- performing tests to check financial information and systems;
- advising clients on tax planning (within current legislation to enable them to minimise their tax liability) and tax issues associated with activities such as business acquisitions and mergers;
- maintaining accounting records and preparing accounts and management information for small businesses (accountancy);
- advising clients on business transactions, such as mergers and acquisitions (corporate finance);
- counselling clients on areas of business improvement, or dealing with insolvency;
- detecting and preventing fraud (forensic accounting);
- managing junior colleagues.
In commerce and industry and the public and not-for-profit sectors, work involves:
- liaising with internal and external auditors and dealing with any financial irregularities as they arise;
- producing reports and recommendations following internal audits or public-sector audits;
- preparing financial statements, including monthly and annual accounts;
- arranging financial management reports, including financial planning and forecasting;
- advising on tax and treasury issues;
- negotiating terms with suppliers.