Senior Accountant

Updated on April 22, 2024
Article byWallstreetmojo Team
Edited byAshish Kumar Srivastav
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

What Is A Senior Accountant?

A Senior Accountant is a person who is responsible for reporting costs, expenditure, profitability, margins, etc., and performs the lead accounting role in the organization. Their duties are more than a junior accountant like gathering data, preparing journal entries, populating balance sheets, and less than the administrative person like decision making, new product launches, changes in the management.

What Is A Senior Accountant

They oversee the accounting work within a business and remain accountable for what they do in the books of accounts. Their work leads to the generation of reports related to cost, expenditure, revenue, and profits. These are used to create financial statements, which are used both by management and stakeholders for financial analysis.

Senior Accountant Explained

The role of a senior accountant describes the job responsibilities of a candidate who will handle the recording and reporting of financial transactions of a business and oversee any discrepancy or deviation from the standard accounting rules and rules specific to the business.  

Innumerable people look for a job of senior accountant executive in the industry, creating a lot of competition. Therefore, it is always better to keep track of the latest skills, qualifications, and requirements of the job in this field and train oneself to be the best in the industry.

This article will clearly explain what a candidate needs to do and learn in order to get hired for such a position of senior accountant executive and perform well, as per the company’s expectations. This kind of work not only requires skill and an educational degree but also the ability to keep things transparent and clear, the ability to take ownership of every part of the work and maintain accountability along with having a sense of work ethics and culture.  Candidates working in tis position are also expected to be flexible in their approach since they need to communicate with many other coworkers and external clients at the same time, with accuracy and effectiveness. So, let us get into the details of this role and understand its effect in the business.

Roles And Responsibilities

The senior accountant plays a critical role in the company’s financial department with a sound knowledge of accounting and finance. The most important role is to keep the organization financially organized. He is responsible for keeping the finance and accounts department of the company in a well-sorted manner so that there should be a better financial picture of the company.

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Below are some of key roles and responsibilities:

  1. Maintenance of the proper books of accounts and the company’s records like balance sheetBalance SheetA balance sheet is one of the financial statements of a company that presents the shareholders' equity, liabilities, and assets of the company at a specific point in time. It is based on the accounting equation that states that the sum of the total liabilities and the owner's capital equals the total assets of the company.read more, profit and loss accountProfit And Loss AccountThe Profit & Loss account, also known as the Income statement, is a financial statement that summarizes an organization's revenue and costs incurred during the financial period and is indicative of the company's financial performance by showing whether the company made a profit or incurred losses during that period.read more, tax liability, and maintenance of all other financial activities of the organization.
  2. Preparation of budgets and investigation of errors and variance analysisVariance AnalysisVariance analysis is the process of identifying and analyzing the difference between the standard numbers that a company expects to accomplish and the actual numbers that they achieve, in order to help the firm analyze positive or negative consequences.read more and reasoning of the same.
  3. The senior accountant duties also include maintenance of the general ledgersGeneral LedgersA general ledger is an accounting record that compiles every financial transaction of a firm to provide accurate entries for financial statements. The double-entry bookkeeping requires the balance sheet to ensure that the sum of its debit side is equal to the credit side total. A general ledger helps to achieve this goal by compiling journal entries and allowing accounting calculations. read more as required by the organization
  4. Generate and analyze financial records and data to the organization
  5. Interpret the financial records and suggest if any error is occurring there and should provide ways of improvement of the same.

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Skills And Qualifications

Here are some important qualifications and educational degree that a candidate should posses, apart from senior accountant duties in order to become an accountant at senior level.

  •  Senior Accountant requires sound knowledge of mathematics along with sound accounting knowledge. He should be capable of understanding any missing or incorrect data in the records
  • Generally, a person with a master’s degree is eligible to become a senior accountant. However, a person who has a good number of experience in finance and possesses only a bachelor’s degree can also become a senior accountant based on several years of experience.
  • The senior accountant is expected to possess the leadership qualities to guide the junior team members and sound knowledge of finance and accounting. The reporting of the senior accountant is generally with the executive of the company or the Vice President or general manager of the company.
  •  Senior Accountants are expected to possess good practical and theoretical knowledge of various accounting and financial software.

Job Description

Let us go through the job description of the same in details.

Example

Let us take a suitable example of senior accountant jobs to understand the concept.

We assume that a company, ABC Ltd, which is into manufacturing and selling of luxury furniture for hotel industry. The company is planning to hire a candidate for the post of senior accountant who will work in the finance department of the company. The candidate will take up the responsibility of handling and overseeing the accounting work related all financial transactions of the business, along with the report preparation and account reconciliation task.

Since it is a growing business, the transaction and workload is very heavy, which has to be handled by experienced professional. Thus, the criteria, for hiring also includes a master’s degree in accounting and taxation along with minimum 5 years of experience in the relevant field. The accountant will report to the CFO and manage the entire finance department. Thus, skills like leadership, mentoring and attention to details are equally essential.

Therefore, from the above example, we can clearly understand how the job, qualification and skill of a senior accountant can be decided.

Salary

As per the payscale, the average salary of a senior accountant is $68,556. However, salary may differ from company to company depending on skills, qualifications, and experience. Many organizations provide additional benefits also along with the salary to senior accountants. Those additional benefits may be fixed or linked to performance like performance bonuses, incentives, overtime allowance, etc.

Senior Accountant Vs Accountant II

Both the above types of candidates fall under the accountant group and deal with financial recording and reporting. But there are some differences between then, as follows:

  • The senior accountant manager is a class that supervises a group of accounting professionals whereas the latter actually reports to the former.
  • For the former, the duties rane from accounting recording and reporting which are complex and of higher level as compared to the latter, whose duties may be moderately complex.
  • In case of the former, apart from accounting skills, they should also have the ability to perform analysis, operating at higher level to manage teams and guide them along with training and supervising. The latter are not required to do such details level of work.
  • The former has to possess more experience levels in relation to leadership and management roles. But this is not required in case of the latter.
  • The former typically has more advanced level of expertise, skill and experience in the accounting and taxation field as compared to the latter.
  • The senior accountant manager has the capability to draw a higher salary in the industry as compared to Accountant II, due to their higher competency levels.

Thus, from the above points we see that even though they have overlapping skill and expertise, there are some criterias that differentiate them from each other.

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