Welcome back to ‘Accounting and Finance Roles Explained’. In part one we discussed the jobs of a finance director, tax accountant and forensic accountant; today we will be explaining the duties of a bookkeeper, financial risk analyst and not-for-profit accountant.
Bookkeeper (the One That’s Not to Be Confused with an Accountant)
We often get asked ‘what’s the difference between a bookkeeper and an accountant?’ If you’d like to know the answer to this, please head to our ‘Bookkeeping vs Accounting’ article. Here’s what you need to know about the role of a bookkeeper: as the word suggests, a bookkeeper balances a business’ books; bookkeeping is the first step in the accounting process. It’s their role to keep an accurate and complete record of the financial transactions of a business. These reports are then usually logged in the company’s general ledger or onto accounting software. In addition, day to day duties could include posting debits and credits, producing invoices, completing payroll for a company and giving administrative support to accountants. In the UK, a bookkeeper can earn anywhere between £15-32,000; the average bookkeeper salary in the UK is £27,000 (2018). As a bookkeeper, you could work for a company or be self-employed. It’s important to note that whilst every business requires accounting, not all companies will have a bookkeeper; in a smaller company, the business owner may do the accounting themselves. With experience and training, bookkeepers can become accounting technicians and take on more complex work.
Financial Analyst (the ‘Risky’ One)
Individuals in financial analyst roles analyse and identify the areas of potential risk threatening the assets, earning capacity and success of a business; they are responsible for predicting change and future trends as well as forecasting cost to a company. A financial analyst is an integral role in an organisation as they provide interpretations about auditing processes, budgets, and business investments, for example; their reports guide executives’ financial and business decisions which helps to maintain the success of a company. Financial risk analysts can work in a number of different sectors such as sales, trading or private banking, and they can specialise in credit, market, operational or regulatory (for example, you could be a regulatory risk analyst). The duties of a financial analyst could include researching, collating and analysing accounting data and balance sheets, reviewing legal documents and making recommendations to reduce or control a risk. Salaries of financial analysts vary quite dramatically; in your first role as a risk technician you could earn £21,000, however, at management level, you could take home £74,000.
Not-For-Profit Accountant (the Hearty One)
If you’d like to work for a not-for-profit business and specialise in accounting, you can become a not-for-profit accountant. Unlike a for-profit business, a non-profit company’s aim isn’t to make a profit. Money still comes in and goes out, but it’s from sources such as donations, events and membership fees which have to be handled differently; it has to be accounted for by law – there are legal processes non-profits must go through on a regular basis and non-profit accounting is a big part of this work. Non-profit accountants need great communication skills as they work with front-line staff, donors, vendors and board members, and they participate in the responsible financial management of non-profit organisations. Responsibilities include overseeing donations, grant management and participating in the development of financial policies and controls. The average salary for a non-profit role in accountancy is £37,500.
Have you identified your ideal role yet on our ‘Accounting and Finance Roles Explained’ series? If you haven’t, fear not; next time around we’ll be discussing the roles of a government accountant, controller, payroll accountant and assistant accountant.
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