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What is an International Accountant?
The still relatively young job profile of the international accountant arose against a number of backgrounds: because of the increasing globalization of trade and because of the interdependence of business enterprises at the international level (and the resulting need for uniform accounting regulations).
International accountants work mainly in the environment of internationally oriented groups or in German subsidiaries of foreign groups. You will take care of far-reaching tasks in the entire finance and accounting system, especially those that are affected by international accounting regulations.
For example, international accountants combine the individual financial statements of the companies involved into a consolidated financial statement. In Germany, capital market-oriented companies must prepare their consolidated financial statements according to the international standards of the IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards), which differ from the regulations of the HGB – therefore international accountants must be able to master and apply the standards of the IFRS.
In the case of companies of parent companies abroad, the international accountant usually also converts the national financial statements into the corresponding accounting standards of the country in which the group is based (USA – US GAAP, UK – UK GAAP, Japan – Japanese GAAP etc.). International accountants work closely with tax consultants and auditors.
The most important things in 5 seconds
- Education: a successfully completed degree in business administration with a focus on accounting and/or finance
- Starting salary: €50,000
- Top salary: €75,000
- Opportunities for advancement: Head of Accounting, Head of Group Consolidation
What does an international accountant do?
- Preparation of monthly, quarterly and annual financial statements according to HGB as well as IAS/IFRS and/or local GAAP for the foreign headquarters
- Clarification of accounting issues
- Consolidation of subsidiaries at home and abroad
- Intercompany reconciliations
- Preparation of annual company tax returns
- Processing of accounting and valuation issues as well as tax issues (national and international), for example the preparation of advance sales tax returns
- Creation of statistics and evaluations, for example of statistical reports
- Communication with the international subsidiaries usually in English (or in the respective national language if necessary)
- If necessary, independent implementation of international reporting as well as supporting activities in the area of controlling/monthly reporting
How to become an International Accountant
In order to work in the professional profile of international accountants, the necessary theoretical basics should be available:
- a successfully completed degree in business administration with a focus on accounting and/or finance or
- commercial vocational training with further training as an accountant,
- and possibly the additional qualification as “International Accountant”, the examination of which can be taken at the competent authority (e.g. in Hamburg at the Chamber of Commerce) if
- the accountant examination (IHK) has been successfully passed
- a recognized advanced training qualification »Certified Accountant« or an equivalent qualification is available or
- successfully completed an economics degree
How much does an International Accountant earn?
up to €75,000
The gross annual salary of an international accountant is usually between € 50,000 and €75,000. The salary to be achieved depends heavily on professional experience and personal and professional skills. If a candidate speaks a required foreign language that is rarely available on the market and is also well versed in the respective accounting regulations of the country, this has a positive effect on his salary. But the size of the company and the complexity of the tasks, the respective industry and the economic region in which the company is based also play a role in salary planning.
The salary development looks positive for the international accountant, since there are not enough qualified staff for the corresponding company vacancies.
What do you expect from the international accountant?
Since international accountants have to keep a close eye on the entire accounting system – they oversee all booking processes, analyze economic success, create evaluations for the management, among other things, and also have to take international accounting regulations into account – they should have an extremely good grasp, think analytically and be well-founded, even under time pressure deliver work results.
An international accountant works closely with colleagues, superiors and (foreign) business partners, so they should be trustworthy and have good communication skills at all hierarchical levels (in German and at least in English as a foreign language). A strong intercultural competence – together with international knowledge (e.g. when preparing annual financial statements for foreign business partners and the transition to IFRS) – is an important prerequisite.
The Accountant International acts as a cross-departmental mediator and sparring partner for the management; In addition, he is often assigned the management of a project or an accounting area – which is why he must have a high level of social skills. In addition, his complex area of responsibility requires an independent and structured way of working, commitment and flexibility. In addition, an accountant must be willing to learn lifelong learning – that alone requires the increasing complexity and fast pace of many tax regulations at national and international level.
Opportunities for advancement as an international accountant
Accountants International have in-depth specialist knowledge and are therefore fundamentally suitable for the position of Head of Accounting or Head of Group Consolidation – subject to personal suitability, i.e. appropriate management skills. As a first step in the direction of management, the management of projects, but also the team management of a department, is an option for Accountants International. Anyone aiming for a professional career as an international accountant can, for example, develop further as a specialist in the field of consolidation.
In principle, the career opportunities for appropriately qualified international accountants are very good, as they are specialists in demand due to their highly complex field of activity in the course of increasing globalization – the shortage of skilled workers in Germany also contributes to the fact that career opportunities are increasing.
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