What is a Junior Accountant?

A junior accountant is an entry-level accountant. An accountant is a trained, knowledgeable person who performs functions necessary to compile, inspect, interpret, and/or report financial statements and tax returns that comply with governmental and regulatory authority requirements.

How Does a Junior Accountant Work?

Becoming a junior accountant typically requires a degree in accounting, proficiency in math or analysis, and an interest in finance. Usually, a junior accountant has fewer than five years of experience and has not obtained a CPA license. The job might require making journal entries, reconciling bank accounts, preparing reports or making certain calculations. Junior accountants are also involved in audits; their work might involve reviewing the backup paperwork for certain journal entries and other activities.

Senior accountants typically supervise junior accountants. Accountants often work in a company’s accounting department, at an auditing firm, or in a private practice. Regardless of where they are, an accountant’s work generally revolves around recording, measuring and presenting financial information.

Why Does a Junior Accountant Matter?

Although people often refer to accountants as “bean counters” who focus on the smallest details, accountants have the rare advantage of being able to understand both the details of each area of a company and the big picture. This broad and deep knowledge is why CEOs often come from the ranks of accounting and finance.

Many accountants seek certifications to evidence their attainment of certain levels of professional competence. These certifications include Certified Professional Accountant (CPA), Certified Management Accountant (CMA), and Certified Internal Auditor (CIA). Some accountants also specialize in certain areas of accounting, such as tax, oil and gas accounting, forensic accounting (bankruptcy), or international accounting.

Effective accountants must be able to solve problems creatively and analyze information to gain insight into situations. They must also be able to persuasively discuss and defend their views, stay abreast of new e-commerce and software technologies, manage projects and deadlines, and have the confidence to make recommendations and policies that affect an entire organization. Above all, successful accountants are good communicators and rigorously follow the law and accounting rules.