Executive & Senior-Level Positions Tips

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Accounting Manager

An accounting manager must have at least 5 years of accounting experience (usually in accounts receivable, accounts payable, and/or cash management), and possess an advanced degree, and a solid comprehension of SOX, IRS, and SEC regulations and GAAP. An accounting manager usually reports to the Director of Finance. Salaries range from $50-100,000 depending on a multitude of duties and responsibilities that vary according to the entity.


Senior Accountant

The senior accountant needs to prepare SEC reports; prepare variance analysis at management's request; assist in researching, preparing, and monitoring long and short-term agreements. This position in senior accounting will also insure compliance with company's internal control policies regarding purchase orders, check requests, and employee advances; verify expenditure requests against budget. A senior accountant requires a Bachelor's degree in accounting or finance. Work experience in the accounting or financial field ranges from 3-5 years, depending upon the individual firm. This position requires strong computer skills using a variety of software programs. The Senior Accountant usually reports to the Accounting Manager or the Controller.

What does an Accounting Manager do?

Accounting Manager

This accounting manager position involves supervising the accounting department staff. Other duties include: overseeing accounts payable, accounts receivable, and payroll functions and positions; performing reconciliations on general ledger accounts as needed; preparing forecasts; monitoring variances; record management; cash flow management and reporting; directing preparation of all internal and external reporting functions; reviewing and verifying journal entries; reviewing financial statements; serving as liaison with external and internal auditors; and supervising the clerical staff and Staff Accountants. This position may involve preparing international financial statements, depending on the individual firm involved.

What is a Staff Accountant?

Staff Accountant

The Staff Accountant position is another accounting position which has duties and responsibilities differing according to the entity involved. The smaller the company, the more bookkeeping duties involved for the Staff Accountant. The larger the company, the more supervisory/overseeing duties are performed. In general, the Staff Accountant is known to perform the following:

  • Maintaining the company's general ledger and subsidiary ledger accounts, including posting and preparing opening, adjusting, and closing journal entries
  • Preparing financial statements including income statement, balance sheet, and statement of cash flows
  • Supervising clerical positions, if needed
  • Assisting the Senior Accountant as needed; working on special projects as management requests
  • Performing bank reconciliations, performing account reconciliations between the general ledger and subsidiary ledger, account reconciliations between the general ledger and financial statements
  • Maintaining accounts payable, accounts receivable, and payroll accounts
  • Maintaining employee files and payroll records; preparing check requests and purchase requisitions
  • Preparing invoices, preparing loan packages
  • Posting to the accounting software program; maintaining banking relations
  • Cash management including preparing wire transfers, sweep account transactions

What are some online sites for upper level job search?

Upper Level Online Job Search

There are a variety of sites available to assist you during your career seeking process. All the sites mentioned below are involved in the accounting and finance field, some exclusively. Visit them online, submit your resume, and also take time to receive a wealth of career development advice.

What is a Senior Accountant?

Senior Accountant

A Senior Accountant has a variety of duties and responsibilities dependent upon the industry, firm size, and individual qualifications. In general, the following duties and responsibilities are a sampling of what the Senior Accountant does during their job performance:

  • Maintain general ledgers including processing adjusting journal entries
  • Oversee, maintain and analyze subsidiary and general ledger accounts
  • Coordinate and complete the month-end closing process of the company's financial records
  • Maintain fixed assets database including preparing purchase and disposition journal entries, depreciation entries, maintain depreciation schedule, updating asset accounts, utilizing fixed asset accounting software
  • Maintain chart of accounts, assure compliance of accounts with financial statement account numbers
  • Assist CFO and/or Accounting Manager as needed

What is a Director of Cost Accounting?

Director of Cost Accounting

A Cost Accounting Director is the highest position one can obtain in the cost accounting field. They usually report to the VP of the firm. The duties and responsibilities of the cost director vary according to the firm size. In general, the Cost Accounting Director can perform some of the following:

  • Coordinate cost accounting activities with Management Engineering, Reimbursement and Financial Planning and Analysis
  • Establish and maintain labor and non-labor cost standards (in coordination with Management Engineering)
  • Prepare reports explaining overhead variances; compile cost data used in developing budget proposals
  • Analyze direct and indirect costs to determine proper allocation for recording cost elements
  • Supervise comparative analyses
  • Maintain accounting software system
  • Determine accuracy of distribution of labor, material, and overhead charges, trace discrepancies to source
  • Compare and analyze actual direct and indirect charges to budget allowances on continuing basis
  • Audit cost reports, determine causes of performance variances, compare to budget allowances
  • Perform volume and rate variance reporting; perform other duties as needed by management.
In addition, the Cost Accounting Director usually trains staff members, is involved in personnel changes such as termination, hiring, promotions, transfers, etc. Cost Accounting Director usually is expected to have 5-10 years experience in the accounting and/or cost accounting field. An advanced degree is preferred. A CPA or CMA is usually required.

Can I see a sample accounting manager job description?

Sample Accounting Manager Job Description


Reports to: CEO Division: Finance/Accounting
Supervises: Finance, Accounting, HR Date: December, 2004

Summary Statement:
- To advise and assist the CEO, as a member of theollaborative management team, in meeting or exceeding the overall financial and strategic objectives of Kandiyohi Power Cooperative and its subsidiary businesses (hereinafter referred to collectively as KPC).
- To direct the financial/accounting activities of KPC in a sound and timely manner.
- To serve as the Information Technology coordinator.
- To be responsible for the planning, direction, coordination, review and monitoring of all financially related policies and procedures.
- To be responsible for the Human Resource function of KPC.
- To recruit, develop and lead a team of employees, consultants and partners that will achieve the desired financial performance of KPC.

Major Areas of Accountability:
1. Creates the conditions by which KPC is able to achieve its financial objectives.
A. Sets up, maintains and constantly reviews a system of internal controls, reports and processes that regularly, accurately and acceptably reflects the financial condition of KPC.
B. Regularly communicates the financial condition of KPC to the CEO.
C. Identifies and recommends to the CEO in the most timely fashion all options and actions necessary to address financial opportunities or challenges of KPC.

2. Directs all financial activities in a way that achieves the overall goals of KPC, including but not limited to:
A. Planning: Prepares long range financial forecasts and works collaboratively with other management team members on rate and price studies, as well as working collaboratively on analyzing and recommending optimum capital credit retirements, keeps abreast of various regulatory requirements and business methods.
B. Budgeting: Leads the effort in the planning and preparation of the annual budget. Regularly monitors and works closely with management team members in taking timely action to insure that budgets and financial plans of KPC stay within approved levels.
C. Accounting: Insures the accounting of revenues and expenses are performed in an accurate, efficient and timely manner in conformity with the uniform system of accounts and GAAP.
D. Reporting: Prepares various state and federal reporting requirements.
E. Cash Management and Investments: Insures cash flow statements are prepared monthly manages the daily cash balance and invests excess funds to achieve the most lucrative rate consistent with board policy.
F. Finance: Plans for the future financing requirements and stability of KPC by preparing and recommending loan applications for approved work programs and/or diversification efforts. Regularly reviews debt portfolios for optimum rates.
G. Consulting: Serves as the lead financial consultant by assisting in the preparation of business plans and financial forecasting for other ventures of or being considered by KPC. Works with the board¡¦s auditors and other consultants in carrying out the financial responsibilities of KPC and its subsidiary businesses.
H. Information Technology: Serves as the coordinator of the IT function working with other management team members who have some expertise in this area to insure that the cooperatives data is accessible and useable throughout the organization in a coordinated and compatible manner.
I. Building and Grounds: The manager of Finance/Accounting is responsible for the maintenance of all buildings and grounds.

3. Coordinates with the CEO and administers the wage, salary and benefit plan.
4. Coordinates implements and administers the Human Resource function to ensure the fair, equitable treatment of all employees and compliance with all State and Federal laws.
5. Leads and manages division personnel to achieve the desired financial performance of KPC.
6. Builds and improves division efficien


Staff Accountant

The staff accountant maintains a fixed asset account including updating asset ledgers and ascertaining company records are in compliance with GAAP. They need to be informed of SOX compliance and keep current with regulations. The Staff Accountant usually reports to the Accounting Manager and/or Senior Accountant. Strong accounting software skills are needed. This individual must be detail oriented and an good communicator – both written and verbal. A Bachelor's Degree in accounting or finance is usually required. CPA Candidacy, or CPA designation is preferred many times.


Cost Accountant

Cost accounting emphasizes the determination and control of costs. These costs are usually found in the distribution and manufacturing process. Therefore, service companies do not usually utilize cost accounting. The cost accountant needs to have a basic understanding of the financial accounting field. Cost accounting, therefore, is considered an upper level accounting position.The Cost Accountant deals with the company's cost analysis and control. One of the main duties of the Cost Accountant is to assemble and interpret cost data to assist management in controlling current and future operations. Cost Accountants have the responsibility of analyzing company costs to ascertain proper effectiveness and efficiency.

What is a Cost Accountant?

Cost Accountant

The Cost Accountant performs variance analysis, performance cost reviews, job costing analysis and maintenance, percentage of completion contract analysis and preparation; beginning and ending inventory cost analysis regarding finished goods, work in process, and materials; analyze and prepare cost of good manufactured report/statement. Cost Accountants are concerned with costs of direct labor, direct materials, factory overhead - both direct and indirect. Cost Accountants also maintain material purchases ledgers; job costing ledgers involving work in process, materials acquisition and usage, direct labor, work in process ledgers, and factory overhead ledgers.

Cost Accountants usually report to the Cost Accounting Manager. They are expected to have good communication skills - oral and written. They also are expected to have good computer skills, and utilize a variety of computer programs. They need to be detailed oriented while possessing an analyzing mind.

What is a Chief Financial Officer?

Chief Financial Officer

A CFO (Chief Financial Officer) is defined as a corporate officer who is ultimately responsible for the financial risks of a company. In general, the CFO has the following responsibilities and duties financial planning, and oversees finances, budget, and taxation departments. The actual job description including responsibilities and qualifications are dependent upon the entity's size and reporting function. The position is typically a member of the Board of Directors. CFO's are expected to have Big 4 experience, an advanced degree (MBA), and a professional designation such as CPA. CFO positions are located in both the public sector (governmental offices) and private sector.

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