The Different Types of Accountants: A Complete Guide

There are a couple different types of accountants that you should be familiar with. Our comprehensive guide right here has you covered.

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Did you know that there are over 1.27 million accountants in the United States? And with National Accounting Day rolling around on the 10th of November, it is only natural we celebrate this essential profession that keeps our books (and lives) clean and error-free.

The accountant profession is expected to grow by 11% by 2024. If you’ve been curious about what it is exactly accountants do (it can’t all be numbers, right?), this guide has you covered.

We walk you through the many different types of accountants out there so you can learn more, hire the right accountant for the job, or even go into an accounting specialization yourself.

Types of Accountants

The world of accounting has expanded into many different sub-industries over the years. And it’s more than just overworked professionals working tirelessly on tax claims!

Accountants help almost every industry out there. Freelancers, influencers, engineers. What do they have in common? They all need the help of an accountant!

It is no wonder that this profession is fast growing. It is also a lucrative profession with strong community and network opportunities. Accounting requires a strong base in math, finance, law, government regulations, and more.

You might be surprised to learn of the various types of accountants – and the responsibilities they take on. Below, we outline the main kinds of accountants you should be aware of today!

Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

Most people think of CPAs when it comes to accounting. These professionals work on state and federal taxes, helping individuals file in time for deadlines. 

Becoming a CPA requires a challenging, wide-ranged, and intense education involving many exams.

Certified public accountant responsibilities often include financial advisors, audit reviewers, forensic accounting, and staff accounting. The ultimate goal of a CPA is to help clients achieve their financial goals. They do this through their abilities in a wide variety of finance sectors.

Staff Accountant

Staff accountants are the main support to a CPA and help them perform a wide range of tasks. Some of these tasks include creating financial reports and analyzing account data.

Staff accountants ensure that their client follows industry-specific financial rules.

Many staff accountants thus branch into industry specializations. This allows them to apply their skills to transport, product, or marketing industries.

Staff accountants need to be good with bookkeeping, numbers, and, most importantly – people. Ingrams Accounting is an example of accounting services that help clients enhance their business relationships.


The primary job of the auditor is to ensure that accounting records are error-free, up to date, and precise. They are typically hired as freelancers or from within the organization. In such cases, they are known as internal auditors.

Auditors are the primary accountants for businesses. They work with corporate clients, public sectors, and non-profit agencies alike. They ensure that there is consistent and thorough bookkeeping. This prevents the likelihood of difficulties when it is tax time. 

They also ensure taxes are paid in full and on time. Auditing requires going over documents with a fine-toothed comb. It also requires skills in analysis, verification, organization, and more.

Investment Accountant

Investment accountants work within the finance industry. They help in managing assets and investments.

Investment accountants are knowledgeable in accounting basics. They also learn about investment opportunities, strategies, and federal and state laws. These professionals also require knowledge about currencies, stocks, and bonds.

And they do this while growing and building company capital! 

These professionals have training in economics, cost accounting, auditing, and taxation. 

Forensic Accountant

Forensic accountants are the detectives of the financial world. They are sought after for uncovering errors and fraud. They also discover other commissions in documents and records.

This sector works closely both with public and private companies. Their work is also often sought out in the legal field, where they may be called upon as witnesses in litigation. 

The main work they do is to go over reports with a curious eye to ensure they are legally compliant. The work requires knowledge of accounting, risk management, taxation, cost accounting, and more.

Financial Advisor

Accounting degrees may also be used for similar fields within the finance world. One such career path is that of financial advising. 

Businesses and individuals need financial advising to improve their financial standing. Advisors help clients create plans that will help them reach financial milestones. They also offer follow-ups and adjustments to plans.

Professionals also offer advice on bonds, IRAs, savings funds, and 401K plans.

This is done by going through existing documents and records. The main responsibility of a financial advisor is to make financial planning easier. These professionals can sort out your money problems. Besides, they help you stay on track, so you achieve your goals faster.

Financial advisors have knowledge in financial management and corporate finance. Managerial accounting, taxation, and risk management are also other facets of the job.

Accounting Awareness

There are many types of accountants in the industry. From personal accountants to small business accountants, there’s a professional for every job!

We hope this article helped you learn about the different kinds of accountants. Now, you’ll be set to hire the right professional for the job! Or pursue a specialization within the industry!

The profession continues to grow and offers opportunities beyond calculating tax deductions (although that is an important part of the job).

If you found this article informative, be sure to check out the rest of our site too. We have articles on health, fitness, finance, and more!

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