A senior accountant is responsible for general accounting functions and analyzing budget accounts for auditing for a medium- to large-size company. A senior accountant must comply with legal regulations, including tax and audit rules. Budget preparation and planning are also essential elements for a senior accountant. Being that the senior accountant interacts with individuals at all levels, the person must be able to administer effective communication skills and know how to work under pressure. A senior accountant should also be a self-motivator and can be a leader to her department and take initiative when needed. Strong computer skills including Excel is a must.
Responsibilities for a senior accountant can be comprised of multiple functions in finance. The primary responsibilities are to prepare financial statements, complete monthly closing procedures, analyze revenues to see whether they are correctly reported, prepare monthly account reconciliations, assist with tax audits, prepare tax returns and write commission reports. A senior accountant may also be responsible for general ledger, journal entries and observe short-term investments.
Senior accountants are also supervisors to staff and junior accountants for a company. Having some knowledge in human resources will be helpful in being a supervisor. Supervisory duties include interviewing and hiring new employees, conducting department orientation and training sessions, delegating assignments and projects to employees, being a mentor to new and current employees, rewarding employees on good work as well as taking disciplinary actions when needed, and responding to and finding solutions to problems within the department.
Qualifications for a senior accountant include having an extensive knowledge of accounting principles and procedures; having strong accounting skills; being able to handle multiple projects in a given time, including during deadline periods; being a self-starter as well as a team player; having excellent verbal and written communication skills; and having knowledge in Microsoft Office and various accounting software, including QuickBooks and Great Plains.
A bachelor’s degree in accounting or equivalent from an accredited college or university is required for a senior accountant. An MBA in accounting is strongly preferred. Also, 2 to 6 years accounting experience is also required.
Salary is usually based on years of experience with the position in question as well as the individual’s educational background. According to Payscale, the average annual salary for a senior accountant ranges from $40,000 to 60,000 for an individual who has 1 to 4 years experience in the field to $45,000 to $70,000 for individuals who have 5 or more years' experience.