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What is a financial accountant?
Financial accountant is not a protected term, but there is a general understanding of the tasks in this position: As a central part of business accounting, financial accounting serves as the basis for external accounting and internal accounting.
Accounting is regulated by law because it is addressed to external parties (owners, employees, creditors, suppliers, customers, the state and other stakeholders). It provides information and accounts for the use of funds. In internal accounting, companies have more freedom of design, because it follows internal company purposes, the determination of operational efficiency and the control of various business units.
In Germany, external accounting is based on the German Commercial Code (HGB) and the principles of proper bookkeeping (GoB). Accounting pursues the goal of correctly presenting the financial situation of the company, i.e. the earnings, assets and financial position based on the balance sheet, the annual financial statements and the P&L (profit and loss account).
The financial accountant records all financial transactions objectively and chronologically and posts them to the associated accounts. It follows the rules of the GoB. The postings are essentially incoming invoices (creditors), outgoing invoices (debtors) and other payment documents, so no in-depth knowledge of the HGB or tax laws is required.
The most important things in 5 seconds
- Education: commercial profession
- Starting salary: €35,000
- Top salary: €50,000
- Opportunities for advancement: Certified accountant (IHK), Head of Accounting, Head of Accounting
What does a financial accountant do?
Depending on the size and structure of the company, a financial accountant takes on tasks in accounts receivable and accounts payable, payroll accounting and asset accounting, but also in the preparation of monthly and annual financial statements. At the end of the financial year, the sub-areas of accounting are brought together in a balance sheet, profit and loss account and annual financial statements as a central event – this task is usually carried out by the accountant who has the necessary in-depth knowledge.
Financial Accountant responsibilities include:
- Accounting and posting of all business transactions
- Reconciliation and management of stock, profit and private accounts
- monthly cost accounting
- Processing of payment transactions
- Reports to offices and administrations
- Review of balance sheet and profit and loss account
- preparatory year-end work
- Participation in the preparation of the monthly and annual financial statements
- Coordination and management of accounts payable, accounts receivable, asset accounting as well as bank and cash register
- Responsibility for dunning and monitoring of open item lists
- Determination and posting of the tax burden (e.g. preparation of the sales tax advance return)
- Checking and posting of travel expense reports
- if applicable, payroll accounting
How to become a financial accountant
A financial accountant who has completed commercial training (e.g. as an office clerk) is in a good position, provided that he has spent most of the time in accounting. It is also advantageous to acquire further knowledge in the context of further training on a part-time basis. Well-founded training as a tax clerk in a tax office is also highly recommended.
The professional entry into the financial accounting of a company is often through a position as an accounts payable or accounts receivable clerk.
Financial accountant is not a protected job title in Germany without further additions, but there is professional training with the publicly recognized degree »Certified Accountant (IHK)«.
Technical skills of the financial accountant:
- Good knowledge of bookkeeping, cost and performance accounting and accounting (according to commercial and tax law)
- In-depth knowledge of all aspects of corporate tax law (in particular the tax code, valuation law, sales tax, etc.)
- Solid handling of common IT programs for financial accounting, such as SAP, DATEV or Navision
- Good knowledge of MS Office (especially MS Excel)
- possibly good knowledge of spoken and written English
What does a financial accountant earn?
up to €50,000
The annual salary of a financial accountant is between € 35,000 and €50,000 – factors influencing the salary amount depend on the respective professional experience, the industry and region as well as the size of the company and negotiating skills. A financial accountant who is at the beginning of his career and is not yet sure of a degree usually earns a far lower salary than a financial accountant who is sure of his degree under the same conditions.
What do you expect from a financial accountant?
First and foremost, a financial accountant should have a high degree of accuracy and care and be good with numbers so that all numbers – which serve to account – are correct. The financial accountant must be able to organize himself independently within his area of responsibility.
Opportunities for advancement as a financial accountant
Financial accountants are in high demand on the market. Both larger and medium-sized companies usually have their own financial accounting. The advantage is that a financial accountant can be employed not only independently of the size of the company, but also across all sectors.
Financial accountants are not limited to accounts receivable or accounts payable. You can combine both areas, expand your range of tasks by taking over the dunning process or take on operative tasks in the preparation of the annual and monthly financial statements.
Experienced financial accountants can also specialize in the area of payroll accounting or in the area of asset accounting or pursue further training to become a certified accountant (IHK). In this way, a higher income can be achieved, and the move to a managerial position (eg Head of Accounting, Head of Accounting ) is getting closer.
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