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What Does a Senior Accountant Do?

Senior accountants often troubleshoot problems that occur within the accounting department.
Senior accountants in the U.S. are generally responsible for recording and maintaining records of financial transactions.
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  • Written By: Jill Gonzalez
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 30 November 2014
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In the United States, a senior accountant is usually responsible for recording and maintaining records of financial transactions. These individuals may do this in a variety of different ways. One of the most commonly used accounting methods is the general ledger. For the most part, people who hold these jobs must perform their duties in accordance with accounting practices that are widely observed throughout the country. These methods, known in the United States as general accounting practices, are taught to students who attend colleges and universities in America.

A senior accountant is usually responsible for analyzing a variety of account transactions, and preparing monthly, quarterly, and annual financial statements. These professionals also run a variety of different kinds of reports throughout the year. These help accountants to keep up with the various financial aspects that they are responsible for, on an ongoing basis.

Someone in this position generally performs many complex accounting activities. Reconciling accounts and analyzing financial data are normally very large aspects of a senior accountant job. It is important to realize, however, that specific work responsibilities may vary somewhat between different employers. The basic functions of these positions tend to remain essentially the same.

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Anyone who works as a senior accountant may be required to perform, or at least participate in, annual company audits. People who hold these positions are generally considered to be of a higher rank than other accountants, so they typically have more responsibilities than other individuals in the department. In some situations, they could be asked to supervise the work of others, or to maintain responsibility for troubleshooting problems that occur within the accounting department.

People in these positions are often consulted for advice regarding how to streamline departmental procedures. They may also be required to suggest methods for improvement in general, or for creating processes that will help to increase employee efficiency. Some employers may even require that people in these positions serve on committees to help create, and then initiate, projects or other activities that will help to resolve problematic issues.

For the most part, a senior accountant tends to have the ability to work well with others. Since these positions usually exist in larger companies, it is very unlikely that anyone working in this capacity would have the option of working alone, though there could be some measure of independence in the job. Having the ability to function well as a member of a team or group is a definite asset in these positions.

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StarJo
Post 3

@wavy58 - I have been a senior accountant for 12 years, and I have enjoyed it immensely. Besides the perks of earning a great salary, I actually love going to work each day and doing what I do.

To become a senior accountant, you will need a Bachelor's Degree in Accounting. Then, most places will require 3-5 years experience in an accounting position. Many places require 5 years, so its best if you aim for that. If you have ever been a supervisor or manager in any job, then this will be to your advantage, as likely candidates for the position have often had management experience.

wavy58
Post 2

I have always been good at math, and I love to manage money. I think the position of senior accountant would be good for me. Can anyone tell me how long it would take from start to finish, college and experience, for me to become eligible for a senior accountant job?

seag47
Post 1

I knew a senior accountant who had to manage the budget for the whole company. This huge responsibility really stressed her out. I don't know why she went into this field, because she very easily succumbs to stress. I met her in college, where she came to pursue a degree in art, because she truly wanted to be an art teacher, and she had seen that the accounting world was not for her.

I asked her if she knew that she would experience a dramatic drop in salary, and she said that she was okay with that. She had been making around $70,000 a year as a senior accountant, and she had the potential to make up to $85,000, but the money did not provide her with the easy life she needed. She couldn't enjoy weekends or vacations knowing that she had to return to that job.

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