Tax accountants are accountants who exclusively work with tax returns on the federal, state or local level. They work for both individuals and businesses and are given the task of learning the law so that they can advise others. They teach their clients how to minimize tax liability and educate them as to laws that may affect them. They are also the party that intervenes whenever there is a dispute or an audit.
Job Duties and Career Outlook
These tax professionals usually work for a company or as a private consultant though there are some government positions available. Their intent is to create strategies, which can help to reduce the amount of tax owed. They work with nonprofit companies as well as corporations and privately owned businesses. The job description is one of careful balance; they must find advantages for their clients while also remaining compliant with the law.
If you are interested in this career field, you must understand tax law first and foremost and keep up to date on all aspects of it. This includes yearly changes as well as any implications that may affect your clients. In day to day work, you will be preparing and filing taxes while planning practical strategies.
With an individual, this is easy, but it does become more complex when a large company is involved, and may actually require meetings to discuss tax strategies and applicable laws. Researching past tax filings is also an important part of the job.
Career Paths and Educational Requirements
Where your career takes you will depend on whether you work for yourself or a business as an advisor. Firms typically require accountants for auditing work (checking the work of others) as well as for tax filings.
A job with the IRS involves inspecting tax returns, to see if there are any discrepancies and follow up on these cases. A job with the government is certainly a stable career path to choose and will be beneficial in the way of job security, salary and career advancement potential.
As globalization becomes every day, knowledgeable and detail oriented tax accountants will become more in demand, but they will need the education to back up their presentation skills. Most employers require a bachelor’s degree just as an entry level position, and particularly in a relevant subject such as business administration or some form of tax concentration. Financial planning and auditing experience are also great, as far as a resume goes.
You will discover that certification and licensing are becoming the standard as more companies prefer to hire Certified Public Accountants, knowing they are held to a higher educational standard by state law. State law varies on hours, but it is on average 150 hours, slightly more than a four-year bachelor’s degree, as well as two years of accounting job experience.
Now is the time to leave your comfort zone and take an educated risk by increasing your educational level and qualifying for a new career path. If you have the commitment to education and experience, you will find a job that suits you and have no regrets looking back!