A chartered accountant, commonly referred to a 'CA', is a professional accountant who manages the financial affairs of businesses and helps to safeguard the investments of individuals as well as those of corporate and other institutions. The title, 'Chartered' is an internationally recognised designation granted to accounting professionals in many countries around the world.
Chartered accountants oversee oversee all of a company's accounting needs, or they may focus on one specific area of accounting such as auditing, financial accounting, or taxation. They may also act as consultants on financial matters, taxation, accounting and computer systems, estate planning and management reporting and procedures. Chartered accountants are also responsible for preparing and reporting on financial statements for presentation to shareholders and the public as required by legislation.
Areas of specialisation include:
Accounting: tasks include analysing and evaluating financial information before advising clients on the financial state of their businesses. Based on their findings, chartered accountants may suggest possible ways in which the client may run their business better in order to protect investments. An expert in this field gives advice in planning and arranging finances, including capital budgeting, mergers and acquisitions, raising capital or loans, cash projections, decisions regarding the purchase of assets and investment management.
Planning and Management: chartered accountants compile reports on aspects of management; they investigate the accounting methods adopted by the client and make recommendations for improvements. This area includes corporate planning, including long-term forecasts, feasibility studies, the allocation of resources and financial planning for new projects.
Auditing: chartered accountants investigate the financial reports of the company and make reports on their findings.
Computerisation: they also assist in the installation of computerised systems and in the development of programmes, the planning of financial models and the giving of advice regarding software and hardware purchases.
Taxation: chartered accountants who are tax specialists and give advice on the determining and saving on tax.
Legal Advice: chartered accountants, who have a good knowledge of mercantile and company law, are able to handle the legal aspects of contracts, leases and estate planning. They are able to accept appointments as trustees in deceased and insolvent estates, liquidators of companies or curators.
Costing: which involves the calculation of costs of products and processes, cost reduction methods and the design of costing systems.
Financial Management: chartered accountants normally advance to top positions in management. Financial managers are responsible for the control of assets of companies and institutions. This often includes administration and various others aspects of general business management.
Employment opportunities for chartered accountants are excellent. The demand for their skills usually exceeds the availability of qualified people in the job market, so the financial rewards are generally substantially more attractive than in most other careers.