So many times when I am out in a restaurant or at a shop or outing, someone in the family or group of my friends asks “You are the accountant. How much do you think this will cost?” And asks me to calculate it in my head. I’m going to tell you all about a little secret… I am an accountants and auditors education requirements, not a mathematician. Do not ask me to calculate anything if I am not using my calculator. I will share a few other secrets with you. You can find the Accounting myths below.
#1 Accounting Myth
Accounting revolves around math. Although you can use math, engineers, salespeople and marketers as well as hair stylists and lawnmen all need it. Calculating the amount you owe and the change if it is in cash, your commission percentage, and so on are all necessary steps to getting paid. Accounting uses math in a similar way. Accounting is accounting for assets and liabilities, income and expenses, etc… but the real meat of true accounting is research, storytelling, and analysis. Do you like to put together a puzzle? You are searching for the missing piece in an accounting book. These numbers are used to inform the owner, shareholder, bank manager or manager of a business about their meaning, how they can best be used and what to expect in future. Analytics, not algebra.
#2 Accounting Myth
Accountant = Tax Preparer / IRS Agent. Oh so wrong, wrong, wrong. You should know that when you sign up for a major tax franchise, or chain, your taxes will most likely be prepared and filed by a trained “tax preparation specialist” and not an accountant. Accounting degrees are the true definition of accountant. Yes, I did prepare taxes as soon as I graduated from college. But, because I was working with a partner who had a few tax clients, that was all I was required to do. I mostly audited corporations. This does not necessarily mean a tax audit. This means that I went in and reviewed their books, spot-checked accuracy, and then left. After that, we would provide a report with recommendations for improvements and areas of improvement. This is just a quick summary of what a company audit looks like. Many accountants work for private companies, compiling financials to owners and managers.
It’s a red flag that someone is claiming to be an accountant. This is something that I hear secretaries and bookkeepers say all the time. It is not intended to disparage secretaries and accountants. I respect them all, and I appreciate their work. I will not tell them that they are. This is not a fair description about who they are and what their qualifications are.