Financial Accounting: Graduate Area of Work
Financial accounting is primarily concerned with the regular analysis and the reporting of a company’s financial state. The reports produced measure the “health” of the company and will offer crucial information about the performance of the business organisation, which are important to external investors such as shareholders and banks. Through these reports, they are able to evaluate if it is worth investing further in the company.
Other business organisations, such as suppliers, also rely on these reports to decide if they want to continue providing their products and services to a business organisation, or if it would be safe for them to extend any form of credit.
The information gained from these reports also keeps the company’s internal management up to date about the cash flow of the company, which is crucial to the decision-making process. Ultimately, financial accounting ensures the transparency of a business organisation’s accounts and keeps it accountable to both its partners and customers.
In Singapore, the practice of financial accounting is governed by the Accounting Standards Committee (ASC). They are responsible for formulating Singapore’s Finance Reporting Standards (FRS), a standard that should be adhered to by all practicing financial accountants in Singapore.
Financial accountants usually find employment in departments such as auditing, treasury management and cash flow, as well as the reporting of new or potential acquisitions.
You will generally start your job with a training programme that allows you to acquire an overall understanding of your company’s business, enabling you to observe the way finances are associated with other departments.
As with most finance positions, you will also be required to pursue the necessary professional qualifications as you train on-the-job.
Your first few years as a financial accountant is generally quite hectic as you will be required to put in plenty of hard work, most of which will involve number-crunching duties. Some of your other duties will also include forecasting account balances, statutory reporting, and controlling direct and indirect taxes.
After you have started specialising in a specific area, however, your work will be determined by the projects that you are involved with.
It is necessary for you to have an analytical mind and good numeracy skills, but even more important is your ability to pay attention to details and to communicate complex findings in layman’s terms.
Financial accountants have to be able to draw relevant conclusions based on the little details found in their analysis of the company’s accounts and report these findings in a comprehensive manner to senior management.
Working in Singapore will also require you to be familiar with Singapore’s FRS, accounting systems such as enterprise resource planning (ERP), and other relevant government policies. Your willingness to develop interdepartmental relationships will also be an added point.
Ups and downs
Pressure to perform and a hectic early work life are two challenges to starting off in financial accounting, but the amount of work will help ground you with a wide range of relevant knowledge and skills, particularly technical accounting and leadership skills.
The comprehensive nature of this line of work will also prepare you for the future if you decide to branch off to and specialise in other areas of accountancy.