Recording and reporting the financial position of an organisation externally is the crucial role financial accountants play.
Financial accountants are also responsible for disclosing, retaining and submitting the right information to external authorities. As such, financial accountants need to have a good knowledge of company law, the financial reporting standards and also IT software.
Entry and progression
Financial accounting is a key role in finance with roles available in practice, the corporate and public sectors, financial services and shared service organisations. As such there are many entry points into financial accountancy within these sectors with opportunities to progress to senior levels being financial controller or chief financial officer after qualifying and becoming a member of a professional body like ACCA.
ACCA provides the knowledge and skills required by complete finance professionals including those required specifically by financial accountants. The professional exam covering corporate reporting (P2) is particularly relevant. A good knowledge of tax and audit would also compliment the work of financial accountants and therefore the options exams Advanced Taxation (P6) and Advanced Audit and Assurance (P7) would be very useful.
It is not just about exams. Getting the right experience helps trainees gain the competencies needed to enter and move up through their career in financial accountancy. Areas such as preparing financial statements for external purposes (PO 10); interpreting financial transactions and financial statements (PO 11); and managing cash using active cash management and treasury systems (PO16) would all provide great experience and relate to the performance objectives (PO) which need to be signed off as part of the Practical Experience Requirement (PER).
Additionally the fundamental financial accounting skills are used by accounts clerks and bookkeepers use to keep a financial paper trail of transactions. These financial skills can be obtained from ACCA’s Foundation level suite of entry qualifications and would provide an entry route to the ACCA qualification and progression towards becoming a professional financial accountant.
Career progression in this role can be supported by developing and demonstrating professional behaviours. Take a look at the behavioural competencies in the Competency Framework to reflect on the type of behaviours which are useful for financial accountants.