Welcome to part three of ‘Accounting and Finance Job Roles Explained’. In part one we discussed the roles of a finance director, tax accountant and forensic accountant, in part two we described the jobs of a bookkeeper, financial risk analyst and not-for-profit accountant. Today we will be discussing four final roles: the jobs of a government accountant, controller, payroll accountant and assistant accountant.

Government Accountant (the ‘Official’ One)

Government accountants work in the public sector; they review financial documentation for the government and serve as a financial watchdog for the community. Government accountants are responsible for fiscal auditing and monitoring, budgeting, and the management of public funds. They must work to a high standard at all times as they are an important part of the budget and financial declaration process. Government accountants can be employed by individual government agencies (regulatory bodies) and their responsibilities could include handling payroll duties and preparing financial statements. Legislators and agencies can also request that government accountants perform audits; they may be asked to audit a private business or individual to ensure they’re complying with tax legislation and other government regulations. Government accountants may also contribute to the development of tax and other financial policies. The average salary for a government accountant is around £45,000, but this can vary considerably depending on experience, location etc.

Controller (the ‘Managing’ One)

Controllers have lots of responsibility as they manage an accounting department to ensure it runs smoothly; depending on the size of the company, controllers may supervise accountants, credit managers, payroll managers and so on. It is a controller’s responsibility to maximise return on financial assets and guide financial decisions by establishing, monitoring and enforcing policies and procedures. The duties of a controller could include conducting audits, producing accounts, reporting to management, overseeing all tax and regulatory/compliance issues, and being responsible for a company’s general ledger (to name just a few). Starting salaries for qualified controllers range from £28-45,000, but you could earn up to £100,000 with several years of experience.

Payroll Accountant (the One in Demand)

CV Library highlighted the role of a payroll professional as one of the top six finance and accounting jobs in the current UK job market. Payroll accountants process and manage payments to employees in a timely manner. The principal task of a payroll accountant is to prepare ledger entries with accurate earnings and deductions. Payroll accountants must, therefore, have a good understanding of math and basic accounting principles at a minimum. Because there are various levels of payroll accountant, the responsibilities can range from basic office tasks to accurately maintaining multiple payroll accounts. Duties of a payroll accountant could be to calculate salary and overtime, prepare tax reports, and update new hires and terminations in the payroll system; at a higher level, they could be expected to perform internal audits as well as prepare information for external audits. Salaries for payroll accountants can vary between £25,000 to £50,000; recruitment company Indeed states the current average salary for a payroll accountant in the UK is £30,000.

Assistant Accountant (the One which Can Evolve into an Accountant)

The role of an assistant accountant is likely one you may take on just before you become an accountant. Often, assistant accountants study for their accountancy qualifications whilst working. It is an assistant accountant’s job to support the accountant as well as the finance department and management team, by completing routine administrative and accounting tasks; they could help with budgeting, managing ledgers, raising invoices, processing business expenses, preparing VAT returns, and preparing financial statements and accounts. Further duties of an assistant accountant may be to review computer reports for accuracy (and tracing errors back to their source), prepare annual budgets, and verify bank deposits. Assistant accountants can earn anywhere between £19,000 and £30,000 per year, with the median salary at £22,000.

That brings us to the end of our ‘Accounting and Finance Job Roles Explained’ series. Have you spotted your ideal job yet in parts one, two or three? Is there a different position you’d like us to explain the duties of? Please put your request/s in the comments area below.

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