How do you become an accountant? What is the training path to undertake to carry out this profession? In this article we will answer these questions by also clarifying any doubts about the functions of this professional figure. In fact, it is not always easy to be clear about the duties of some professions, especially for those who are not in the sector. In this case we are talking about a professional who has to deal with complex procedures in various fields, who needs specific and in-depth preparation to carry out his activities.
What does an accountant do?
Given the subject he deals with, it is understandable to be uncertain about the duties of this professional, especially for younger people, who are not familiar with tax, legal or accounting issues. So, some might ask: but what does the accountant actually do?
Its business mainly consists of providing clients consultancy and services relating to tax compliance, accounting, corporate law, bankruptcy matters or work. It can make its skills available to individual citizens or to various types of companies, with more articulated and differentiated needs.
Some of the fundamental activities that an accountant carries out periodically and repeatedly are:
- Advice to companies: informs them of regulatory changes, advises on tax strategies to be adopted, checks the preparation of the financial statements and tax returns, performs accounting records, keeps the customer’s accounts;
- Advice to individuals: deals with the tax return and the economic and financial situation of citizens;
- It deals with start-ups: evaluates development prospects, deals with the tax aspect by recommending the most suitable solution for new business projects, proposes an organizational structure and legal appropriate, carry out budget planning;
- Represents companies and entities within the tax jurisdiction: prepares documents aimed at verifying the tax situation of the company and defends the interests of the client.
How do you become an accountant?
After briefly outlining the duties of this professional profile, let’s move on to the practical aspect: how do you become an accountant? Do you need to have a degree? Can you do it independently? A little further on we will see what are the essential steps to enter this profession, in order to quantify the commitment required to get to exercise the duties.
The 1st step to becoming an accountant: obtaining a master’s degree
To become an accountant you must follow a predefined training process which first of all involves graduation. Those who have decided to undertake this type of career, in fact, will not be able to stop at the high school diploma, as for example for the professions of Accountant, Clerk or Accounting Expert. Anyone wishing to follow this path must therefore have master’s degrees in economics, finance and business in one of the following classes:
- Economics and Business Sciences.
The 2nd step to becoming an accountant: doing the internship
After having obtained one of the aforementioned second level degrees, the aspiring Accountant will have to carry out a practicum period at the office of a professional registered in the Register for at least 5 years. According to Legislative Decree 1 of 24 January 2012, this professional internship period is 18 months.
Following the Agreement of 27 May 2015 signed between the Order of Chartered Accountants and Accounting Experts it is possible to carry out 6 months of internship even during the last year of university, under these conditions:
- have already obtained a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Business Management or in Economics;
- having obtained a three-year degree other than those listed above which gives access to the affiliated master’s degrees.
The 3rd step to becoming an accountant: passing the state exam
After having obtained the master’s degree and having completed the apprenticeship period of 18 months, the last step is missing: passing the state exam which will allow the registration in the professional register of the Order of Chartered Accountants and Accounting Experts (the state exam sessions are held twice a year). The examination is aimed at ascertaining the knowledge of the aspiring accountant candidate on the following materials:
- general accounting;
- analytical and management accounting;
- discipline of the statutory and consolidated financial statements;
- national and international accounting standards;
- financial analysis;
- risk management and internal control;
- national and international auditing standards;
- statutory audit regulations; professional ethics and independence;
- professional revision technique;
- civil and commercial law;
- company law;
- bankruptcy law;
- tax law;
- labor and social security law;
- IT and operating systems;
- political, business and financial economics;
- fundamentals of financial management;
- mathematics and statistics.
Once you have passed the exam and obtained the qualification to practice the profession by registering with the Register, it will finally be possible to carry out the ‘activity of the accountant.
It should not be forgotten, however, that in this profession, continuous updating is essential, since most of the regulations that the Accountant uses to carry out his business changes often. For this reason, the National Council of Chartered Accountants and Accounting Experts requires members to accrue credits by participating in organized courses.