When you think of tax accountant jobs, you probably think of positions within a public accounting firm working with clients to prepare tax returns. Public accounting firms are the largest but not the only market for accountants looking for a tax related position. Midsize and larger corporations are increasingly hiring tax accountants as a part of their Finance teams.
Considering a career as a tax accountant? Read on to find out more.
As a tax accountant, your primary responsibility is preparing federal, state, and local tax returns. Not just the returns themselves mind you, but all the supporting schedules and required documentation that goes with them. Not just income tax returns either, although this is the bulk of the work. You will potentially also prepare sales tax, property tax, and wage related tax returns and supporting schedules as well.
Accuracy and attention to detail are key requirements of tax accounting. Even minor details can impact multiple schedules or returns. Judgment is also required. Tax law is subject to interpretation, and a good tax accountant knows how to interpret the law accurately but in a way that benefits their clients.
During tax season, typically January to April 15th, tax accountant jobs demand amazingly long work hours. The push is on to complete returns during the season and before the deadline. The pressure is highest in public accounting firms who serve multiple clients and charge by the billable hour. A busy tax accountant may work 12 – 14 hour days seven days a week through March and early April. It’s expected.
Time pressure is high for corporate tax accountants also. They are subject to the same tax deadlines. In addition, they work long hours at other times of the year. Corporate tax accountants prepare for tax related audits and assist with them, often working long hours during the audit itself. They frequently prepare accruals during financial period close and assist with preparing the corporate annual report.
Long work hours are just the beginning. Tax laws change frequently. Tax accountants, both public and corporate, are expected to understand the current tax law and are often asked to determine the tax implications of a law change. This expectation creates a kind of information pressure.
As a tax accountant, you can expect to spend hours learning about tax law changes and staying current.
If you are interested in tax accountant jobs, don’t let the pressure discourage you. There are several positive aspects of a tax accounting career. Tax accountants provide a valuable and needed service. Let’s look at some of the benefits of tax accounting.
So, we hope we've convinced you that tax accountant jobs are actually an exciting career path choice. Yes, it has downsides. But what job doesn't?