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The public perceives CPA holders as qualified, independent and competent professionals. But for one to remain competent with the changing business environment he/she should specialize. Areas of specialization are discussed below.
According to Crumbley, D (2003) forensic accounting is the specialty accounting area that is suitable for legal review, and offers the highest level of assurance and independent findings that are sustainable for legal proceeding, or within some judicial or administrative review. Forensic accountants investigate and interpret bankruptcies and other complex financial transactions. They are involved in the recovery of money lost through crime and other proceeds accrued from money laundering. Business information systems, auditing procedures and investigation techniques help forensic accountants in doing their work smoothly.
This is the area of accounting that deals with provision of information to managers in the organization. Managerial accounting provides the essential data on how companies/firms are actually run. Report that shows the performance of the company is usually prepared by managerial accountant. These reports may contain frequent updates on key indicators such as orders received, order backlog, capacity utilization, and sales. They also prepare analytical reports resulting from investigation of specific problems such as a decline in the profitability, or analysis of business situations or opportunities.
Management accountants produce reports that are useful to those inside the firms for the purpose of planning, directing and motivating, controlling and performance evaluation. These reports show the performance and financial status of departments, products, customers, and employees. In order for managerial accountants to perform well they should have an understanding of what managers do, the information managers need, and the general business environment.
Financial accounting is one of the areas of specialization in accounting. It provides financial reports about a firm's performance to external parties such as investors, creditors, and tax authorities. For a financial accountant to be successful in his area of specialization he has to summarize financial consequences of past activities. A financial accountant has to objectively verify the data. Reporting to external parties provides the scorecard by which a company's overall past performance is judged by outsiders. Another responsibility of financial accountants the timely provision of financial statements of the firm to the management level. They also make sure that all the accounting regulations are followed.
Accounting information system
This is the area of accounting that uses information systems in the practice of accounting. It is the accounting that uses modern information technology resources together with traditional accounting controls and methods to provide users the financial information necessary to manage their organizations. Accounting information systems is applied in all business functions from backbone accounting transaction processing systems to sophisticated financial management planning and processing systems. It provides advanced analyses for improved resource allocation and performance tracking.
The best area one can specialize in accounting is accounting information system. With the advancement in technology, more firms are adopting this accounting information system in their transactions and analysis of financial statements. Therefore, this provides an opportunity to the young professional accountants.