Tax Accountants

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By Nsim Team


Are you interested in an office-based career that involves preparing complex reports and advising others? Do you have an interest in tax reporting, compliance and strategy? If so, a career as a tax accountant is worth considering. Here's a quick summary of what's involved in this profession:
• Excellent level of pay
• Long hours with very detail-oriented work
• Opportunity to work with numbers and with people
• Outstanding opportunities for career development


Who is a Tax Accountant?

As a tax accountant is an accountant who specializes in preparing regional and federal taxes on behalf of an individual or an organization.
As a tax accountant, your primary responsibility would be to help clients prepare their federal, state/provincial and local tax returns. Your clients may be businesses, non-profit and other organizations, or individuals.
You would also have to ensure the returns you prepare are complaint with the ever-changing laws and guidelines of taxation. This means your knowledge of taxation would have to remain up-to-date at all times.
You would use your taxation savvy to not only help clients complete their tax returns in a compliant manner, but also to advise them as to what actions they can take to minimize their tax liabilities (such as moving money into certain investment vehicles and tax shelters). 


Education Needed to work as a Tax accountant

To become a tax accountant, you typically need at least an undergraduate degree in one of the following fields:
• Accounting
• Auditing
• Business Administration (with a focus in accounting)
• Finance (with a focus in accounting)
• Taxation
Having a degree in one of the above-mentioned fields may qualify you to work in some entry-level tax accounting jobs. However, qualifying for most mid-level and senior-level jobs (and a lot of entry-level jobs too), you will need have earned, or be working towards, a professional accounting designation, such as CA or CPA.


Skills Needed to Become a Tax Accountant

While being able to work with numbers is important, you don't need advanced skills in mathematics to become a tax accountant. You will however, have a much better chance of succeeding in this field if you have the following abilities:
Analytical Skills: You must be able to review many pages of documentation and identify issues, as well as provide recommendations as to how to fix those issues.
Communication Skills: Being able to listen carefully to facts and concerns from clients, managers, and other stakeholders is very important. You must also be able to communicate the results of your work and recommendations in meetings and in written reports.
Close Attention to Detail: Being able to pay attention to detail when compiling and examining documentation, as well as when preparing reports, is crucial for being accurate in your work. You must also be able to do so with stamina, as you may have several documents and reports to work with during a given day.
Math and Logic Skills: You do not need complex math skills if you want to become a tax accountant. You do however, need the ability to analyze, compare, and interpret facts and figures, as well as spot discrepancies.
Organizational Skills: You will need exceptional organizational skills, as you will  work with a wide range of financial documents for a variety of clients. If not properly organized, your work can quickly become very inefficient, resulting in mistakes, duplicate work, and ultimately a loss of clientele.
Technical Skills: Being familiar with various forms of accounting and tax preparation software will help you hit the ground running when you’re hired, as will your extensive knowledge of accounting principles and taxation. Don't have technical skills? Worry not, these skills will be acquired while you’re pursuing your accounting degree and designation.  


Who Employs Tax Accountants?

As a tax accountant, you could find work as an in-house salaried employee of an organization, or you could work on a fee-for-service basis for individuals or organizations (as a self-employed practitioner, or as a contractor for an accounting firm or related business).
Organizations that may enlist your services (either as an in-house employee or as a contractor) may include:
• Businesses of all sorts
• Governmental agencies
• Non-profit organizations
• Educational institutions
• Corporate and personal tax preparation offices
• Accounting consultancies
• Full-service accounting practices
• Self-employment
• Tax preparation service organizations
• Government agencies 

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