What does a Financial Accountant do and why is it important?

  • 21-09-23
  • Cass Pratt

At Richard Lloyd, the demand for Financial Accountant candidates increased from 22 positions in 2019 to 72 vacant positions in 2022 and there’s a good reason for it! A Financial Accountant is vital to the financial health of any organisation. They meticulously manage a company’s financial affairs and ensure accuracy and compliance. With this role being so indispensable, it’s important to understand what a Financial Accountant does and why they are so important.

Key responsibilities of a Financial Accountant

Financial Accountants are essentially the ‘financial watchdogs’ of an organisation and require a particular skillset. Their tasks and responsibilities can be varied depending on the size of the finance team and the company. A Financial Accountant's typical job description can include

  1. Recording financial transactions accurately
  2. Preparing financial statements including income statements, balance sheets, cash flow and profit and loss statements
  3. Managing the general ledger including monthly accruals, journals, fixed assets, and depreciation schedules
  4. End-of-month reporting
  5. Assisting with budgeting and forecasting
  6. Ensuring accounting standards and policies are adhered to in order to reach compliance

If you would like more information on the specific duties of a Financial Accountant, please click here for more information.

Why companies need a Financial Accountant 

How do you know if you need a Financial Accountant? Financial Accountants are often the ‘middle ground’ between an Assistant Accountant and senior-level finance. They have more experience and technical knowledge than an Assistant Accountant and can take care of the day-to-day financial accounting to free up more senior-level finance leaders. They help with financial controls and ensure accuracy in the finance team to help avoid non-compliance fines, and legal issues and help maintain investor confidence.

Depending on the size of the company, the details of the Financial Accountant role can vary. For a smaller company, there may be a need for only one person in the finance team. These roles are often called Company Accountants and you can read more about their roles here. For organisations with multiple subsidiaries or entities, some members of their finance team focus on accounting for the whole group rather than the individual entities. These Accountants are often called Group Accountants and more information about their roles can be found here

Skills to look out for in a Financial Accountant

Although a Financial Accountant’s job description may vary from company to company, some core skills remain the same. A Financial Accountant typically will have a degree in accounting and will often be undertaking or have completed further studies such as CA or CPA. They will have excellent written and verbal communication skills to communicate with internal and external stakeholders. They also need strong business acumen with critical thinking and problem-solving skills paired with the ability to perform data and statistical analysis to identify trends and irregularities. Attention to detail is a vital skill for any Accountant.

How to assess these skills

We can’t tell you how many times we are asked, how can I tell candidates aren’t just ‘’talking the talk’’ in an interview, keep reading and we’ll let you in our best-kept interview secrets.

In an interview, you want to assess a lot of the technical and soft skills of a candidate. Technical skills can be probed by asking technical questions based on skills they have listed on their resume, for example, “Tell me about XYZ?”. You can assess how they answer and better understand their process of problem-solving while also gaining insight into their technical skills.

Verbal and communication skills are easily assessed, ask general open-ended questions to start; how has your day been, how was your weekend? This will also put candidates at ease before getting into the nitty-gritty questions. You also want to ask them about themselves and their career, so you understand their background and where they have been. 

It’s a good idea to ask situational and behavioural questions as well. You need to be confident the successful candidate will fit into your team culturally. 

You can also conduct a skills-based test or present them with a fictional problem to solve in an interview and of course, nothing beats a professional reference. We recommend at least two professional references for each new hire.

Hiring the right Financial Accountant for your company

Getting the right Financial Accountant for your company can be tricky. Ensure you know what skills you’re looking out for and your company’s pain points before starting the process. If you need assistance with what questions to ask and how to assess them, you can check out our interview question guide

Financial Accountants are an integral part of a company’s finance team and ensure financial compliance, and transparency and provide information that leads to sound decision-making for senior finance employees.

When you’re hiring make sure you know exactly what skills you require, assess each candidate carefully and make sure you’re offering a competitive salary.

We know that the recruitment process can be draining and all-consuming, so if you would like our help finding the perfect candidate for you, call one of our expert Recruitment Consultants at 02 8324 5640 or if easier you can submit an enquiry online.