The role of a financial accountant involves overseeing the financial accounts of a company, by keeping track of, and reporting on a company’s financial transactions. The financial accountant will often supervise a team of accounting technicians who carry out the more administrative tasks. Financial accountants have knowledge of all aspects of a company’s finances. This job includes tasks such as preparing financial statements and reports, as well as making recommendations for spending or cost cuts. The accountant makes certain that the financial books are prepared accurately, that all aspects of the company’s finances are properly documented, that any money that is due to the company is collected, and that any company expenses are paid.
The financial accountant may also provide financial analysis and advice to the chief executive officer (CEO) of the company when it is involved in business transactions or acquisitions.
As a senior-level role with plenty of responsibility, financial accountants usually have training and experience in finance and management. The first phase towards becoming qualified begins with registering at any accredited institution that offers a Bachelor of Commerce: Accounting or a Bachelor of Science: Accounting and Finance degree or diploma. A National Senior Certificate that meets the requirements for a diploma or degree course is a prerequisite.
Further global qualifications such as those offered by ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) or CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) are also recommended and, in some cases, necessary. Both ACCA and CIMA qualifications require a relevant degree, two to three years of experience and passing a number of specific examinations.
Contact each institution for their specific requirements, but these subjects are recommended:
• Business Science
• Information Technology
False Bay TVET College
National Certificate: Financial Management N4 - N6
University of Pretoria
Bachelor of Commerce: Accounting Sciences
University of Stellenbosch
Bachelor of Accounting
Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
Bachelor of Commerce: Accounting for Chartered Accountants
Bachelor of Accounting Science
South African College of Business
CIMA Advanced Diploma: Management Accounting
College of South Africa
CIMA Management Accounting Studies
University of the Witwatersrand
Bachelor of Accounting Science; Bachelor of Commerce: Accounting Sciences
University of Johannesburg
Bachelor of Accounting; Bachelor of Commerce: Accounting Sciences
Cape Peninsula University of Technology
National Diploma: Accounting
Tshwane University of Technology
National Diploma and Bachelor of Technology: Various
College of Cape Town (Private FET)
South African Institute of Chartered Accountants – www.saica.co.za
South African Institute of Professional Accountants – www.saipa.co.za
Association of Certified Chartered Accountants – www.accaglobal.com
Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) – www.cimaglobal.com
Why did you choose to work in finance?
Because I have always enjoyed working with numbers.
What training did you undergo?
I attended basic workshops and short courses, and simultaneously studied towards a BCom.
Is there a type of personality best suited to this work?
Ideally, working with finances requires someone who has a good sense of humour, has an ability to motivate others and, very importantly, is able to work well and get along with people.
Is experience as important as formal training?
Experience is very important, although formal training would certainly help. I find that many people are unable to apply the formal training they have received, which leads to some of them choosing a different field of work.
Describe a typical day
I’m always busy – working with real-life requirements like payments and receipts, and making sure that the company’s facts and figures are correct.
What do you like the most about your work?
The fact that I make a difference within the company. Dealing with finances is an important role within any organisation.
Any future goals?
To remain dedicated and committed; to continue working hard towards becoming a director.
What advice would you give to someone starting out?
Victory belongs to those who persevere the most.
Describe your job in three words
It requires ACCURACY, it is important to the SUCCESS of the company, and it is MEANINGFUL.