According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a chief accountant most likely holds a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation as well as related certifications, such as a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) or Certified Management Accountant (CMA). In bigger companies, a chief accountant may have risen up through the ranks and earned a spot at the management table. Long-term employment as a financial professional working in a variety of capacities gives you a special understanding of operations and the company culture, making you well-suited to the job as chief.


In addition to having a first-hand view of all the company’s financial transactions, debt and earnings ratings and strategic goals, you may interact with most department heads and other key employees as chief accountant. You need to develop effective communication skills that translate beyond your immediate financial staff to relay company objectives to the entire staff as well as being able to translate complicated financial terms to owners or board members.


One of the major roles of the chief accountant is to make sure your company is in compliance with internal and external financial obligations. Payroll taxes, profit/loss statements, FCC regulatory filings, and insurance requisites must be kept up-to-date. Timely payments to vendors can have a dramatic impact on the company’s ability to maintain inventory. Additionally, the chief accountant usually controls annual or quarterly audits of the company books and various department ledgers or coordinates with an outside auditor to perform the duties.


According to the International Federation of Accountants, chief accountants increasingly take on larger roles in growing businesses. They often play a key role in strategic planning because of their unique perspective on the financial impact of future plans. In addition to internal communications, well-spoken accountants take on the responsibility of communicating company financial information to shareholders and the media. A chief accountant, often taking on the title of CFO, or Chief Financial Officer serves as an advisor, educator, and consultant on all financial matter affecting the company.

Accountant: Applies principles of accounting to analyze financial information and prepare financial reports: Compiles and analyzes financial information to prepare entries to accounts, for example, general ledger accounts, documenting business transactions. Analyzes financial information detailing assets, liabilities, and capital, and prepares a balance sheet, profit and loss statement, and other reports to summarize current and projected company financial position, using calculator or computer. Audits contracts, orders, and vouchers, and prepares reports to substantiate individual transactions prior to settlement. May also establish, modify, document, and coordinate implementation of accounting and accounting control procedures. May also devise and implement a manual or computer-based system for general accounting. May also direct and coordinate activities of other accountants and clerical workers performing accounting and bookkeeping tasks.