An accountant is a person trained in preparing and maintaining financial records. The primary task of most accountants is to help their clients run more efficiently by making sure that their financial records are accurate and that tax and other payables are paid on time. Accountants also provide consultancy services. They also help clients in budget analysis and financial planning.

An accountant’s job description differs depending on the chosen field of specialization. The different types of accountants include:

Public accountants. Public accountants have functions ranging from accounting to auditing and consulting. Public accounts often specialize on even more specific functions like taxation or auditing. Most Certified Public Accountants have their own private practice.

Management accountants. These accountants, also called private, industrial and corporate accounts, work with private companies with the main function of recording and analyzing the company’s financial profile so as to ensure proper asset management as well as keep expenditure to a minimum.

Government auditors and internal auditors. Though serving different clients, these accountants’ main function is to audit the records of their clients. For government auditors that would be government agencies and private corporations. Internal auditors audit private companies, ensuring a non-wasteful and fraud/corruption-free environment. Their only difference in function is that government auditors are very particular about hunting down tax evaders.

Forensic accountants. These accountants specialize in solving financial related crime, i.e. fraud and embezzlement, by providing assistance through analysis of financial records during an investigation.