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A peek into the daily life of an accountant

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Many of us have a rough idea of what being an accountant entails – bookkeeping, data crunching and perhaps constantly balancing income and expenditure sheets. However, sometimes we fail to realise the important role an accountant plays in a business.

Accountants must use a myriad skills to analyse, collect, compile and evaluate financial data. They prepare reports and financial statements, track daily cash flow statements and prepare annual reports.

Accountants must ensure all transactions and financial records are compliant with local regulations, which requires careful attention to detail. Having a good accountant is critical to ensure that a business functions optimally and their cash flow projections are up to scratch.

Today, we speak with Ms Kok Swan Ann, a Senior Accountant with 14 years’ experience. She provides many interesting insights on her daily tasks and shares some common challenges faced by accountants.

In your own words, could you explain your main job function as an accountant?

Kok Swan Ann: I analyse financial statements and help the business understand their financial performance. I help to plan for cashflow and I’m a gatekeeper for credit control to ensure all accounts are in compliance with International Financial Reporting Systems (IFRS).

Why did you decide to become an accountant?

KSA: I have had a keen interest in this subject since secondary school. I believe accounting is the language of business, and every company needs an accountant no matter what stage they are in their business lifecycle.

In your opinion, how has technology changed the way you do your job?

KSA: With accounting software becoming more prevalent and automating several accounting tasks, the role of the accountant in a company is now evolving to that of a business advisor. It is no longer sufficient for accountants to only have technical knowledge.  Professional scepticism, critical thinking and sound judgement are also imperative in ensuring the company functions efficiently.

How has COVID-19 and work-from-home arrangements affected your job function?

KSA: The ongoing pandemic has forced us to adapt to the ‘new normal’. Thankfully, prior to the pandemic spreading in March 2020, my company had already made the move towards shifting to 100% paperless transactions. This made the process of shifting to remote working much more seamless as all required information was easily accessible on cloud technology. Therefore, our business functions have not really been affected by remote working as we had already taken the initiative to shift to electronic transactions prior to the pandemic.

How can Sage accounting solutions help your small business?

Is your business interested in making the transition from manual accounting processes to automated software? Discover how you can choose the right accounting software with Sage.

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What do you consider the top 3 essential skills needed to do your job effectively?

KSA: A good accountant must have a combination of the following important skill sets:

  • Analysis: to be able to look at the output and judge if it is reasonable and feasible.
  • Adaptability: to be able to continually adjust and thrive in response to a myriad of external factors, such as company restructuring, new product launches, new legislation and tax laws.
  • Teamwork: a good team spirit is important to meet the tasks for various projects and deadlines. Having the ability to delegate and spread work out empowers the team, builds trust and supports professional development.

What are some common accounting mistakes and how can these be minimised?

KSA: The most common mistake made is missing out on transactions. To prevent such issues from happening, I usually review the company’s financial statements every month before closing and constantly check the balance sheets to reconcile any discrepancies.

What are your favourite and least favourite aspects of your role?

KSA: I like to analyse and reconcile data, as well as take advantage of accounting software to customise reports and data. I think my least favourite portion of the job is listening to customer feedback on the difficulty of making payments due to the current economic climate. It makes me feel bad as we want to succeed along with our customers. We also need to constantly educate colleagues, who may be unfamiliar with business procedures and processes, to ensure consistency and accuracy in our reports.

What is your advice for anyone looking to become an accountant?

KSA: I think the most important attribute for a professional accountant to have would be integrity, as accountants should be straightforward and honest in all their professional and business endeavours. Besides that, accountants should not get too comfortable in their role, and instead should strive to continually learn and improve their skills.

How can Sage accounting solutions help your small business?

Is your business interested in making the transition from manual accounting processes to automated software? Discover how you can choose the right accounting software with Sage.

Discover More

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Effective 1 June 2021, Sage’s accounting and payroll solutions in Asia are now wholly owned by The Access Group.  If you would like to continue to receive valuable content such as these to optimise your business, please subscribe to The Access Group newsletter.

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