The primary responsibility of an Accountant is to provide an accurate and up-to-date record of the financial transactions of an Individual or Organisation. they need to be aware of all of the necessary financial compliance guidelines during these transactions.
An Accountant can choose where they may be employed. Some work directly for a large Organisation full-time, while others may prefer to be self-employed serving the needs of a private Individual. The most popular form of this type of Accountant is one who helps people correctly complete and file their Tax Returns each year.
An Accountant can also specialise in other fields (depending on their experieine and qualifications) such as Investment Options, Fund Management, Retirement Packages or Estate Planning. Thus, a robust amount of experience is necessary to perform this role efficiently.
It is important to note that a Chartered Accountant will generally have gone through more training than a normal Accountant and a different set of qualifications. A Chartered Accountant needs to have successfully completed an academic postgraduate program and upon graduation have worked under a mentor program for a period of three years or more.
A Chartered Accountant will focus on providing accurate records of all financial transactions for an Individual or Organisation, where they are more likely to be found employed in a some form of commercial capacity. Such examples can include larger corporations, non-profit organisations, industrial sector and commerce.
Another significant difference is that while an Accountant may have their own practice for many years, a Chartered Accountant is considered more of an Accountant for hire. They can often provide fee-based services for organisations in the public sector. Their private sector responsibilities may include overall financial supervision or the role of a wealth manager for an Individual or Organisation. Due to the fact that their expertise tends to involve business functions, Chartered Accountants are in quite high demand.
When looking for an Accountant or Chartered Accountant, make sure to check that they have qualifications issued by one of the recognised Accounting bodies in the UK, such as: ICAEW, ICAS, ACCA or CIMA.
Alternative Investments are usually held by high-net-worth Individuals or Institutional Investors, because of their complex nature, lack of liquidity/volatility and limited regulations (example) in some cases consumer protection. Alternative Investments can be Derivatives Contracts, Property, Hedge Funds, Commodities and Managed Futures.
Annual Accounts or 'Statutory accounts' is made up of the following:
A Balance Sheet, which shows the value of everything your company owns/owed on the last day of the financial year.
A Profit and Loss Account, which shows the running costs, company's sales, and the Profits or Losses it has made over the financial year.
Annual Returns are snapshots of certain company information at a 'Made Up' date. It is a separate document from a company's Annual Accounts. All companies must send an Annual Return to Companies House at least once a year. The company's Director/Directors and the Secretary are responsible for providing the Annual Return is filed on time.
A pension annuity is an insurance contract that is purchased and turns the money accumulated in your pension scheme into an annual or monthly income. This is paid to you for the rest of your life and depending on the terms of the contract it may continue past your death and continue to pay an income to your spouse.
A Retirement Plan sponsored by the Employer, whereby an Employee is automatically enrolled into the Scheme. The Employer can determine how much of the Employee's wages is contributed to the plan (within certain parameters). However the Employee can alter the amount they pay and can even refuse enrollment into the plan, but this must be done in writing.