Retail Accountant Job Description
Retail accountants prepare and examine financial records for retail companies, overseeing their financial status, performing assessments, and making recommendations. This job involves tasks such as completing tax returns, examining financial data to check it meets the correct standards, and providing guidance on ways the company can reduce costs. Most retail accountants work full time in an office environment, although overtime may be required during busy periods, such as tax season. This job is well suited to people with an aptitude for math, who enjoy analyzing data and observing trends, and who are detail-oriented.
Retail Accountant Duties and Responsibilities
Retail accountants carry out a range of different duties depending on the organization they work for. Based on job listings we analyzed, these responsibilities typically include:
Examine Financial Data for Accuracy
Retail accountants examine financial statements to make sure they’re accurate and comply with the relevant laws and regulations. This is particularly important when computing taxes owed or conducting financial audits.
Retail accountants inspect account books for the organization or different retail clients to check their efficiency and verify that the correct accounting procedures are being used.
Create Reports and Prepare Tax Returns
Collating data to compile tax returns is a key part of a retail accountant’s job. They examine a company’s financial data from the previous year and ensure that tax documents are processed and submitted on time.
Identify Ways to Reduce Costs
Retail accountants look at all financial operations to make recommendations for ways to cut costs and for best practices regarding expenditures and management of company finances. They also identify ways to enhance revenue and improve the company or client’s profits.
Assess Financial Operations
Retail accountants develop financial strategies based on business goals and market trends to identify ways that the company can increase its revenue. This is often compiled in a report that is discussed with key stakeholders and senior staff members.
Retail Accountant Skills and Qualifications
Retail accountants should have an aptitude for numbers, sharp attention to detail, and a solid understanding of financial and budgetary principles, particularly within the retail sector. Typically, employers require a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a similar field, as well as the following abilities:
- Math skills – while advanced math skills aren’t necessary, retail accountants need to analyze and compare facts and figures, and find patterns or trends in data to make assessments
- Analytical approach – retail accountants must identify problems or errors in documentation and suggest improvements or solutions, so an analytical mindset is vital
- Organization skills – retail accountants often work with a range of clients, handling various documents, so they need to keep paperwork organized and ensure accurate records are kept
- Computer knowledge – retail accountants use programs such as Microsoft Excel and accounting software on a regular basis, so good computer skills are necessary to do this job well
- Communication skills – this job requires listening carefully to concerns or facts from clients or department heads, as well as the ability to clearly discuss reports or data trends, so strong communication skills are important
Tools of the Trade
Retail accountants regularly use these programs, and applicants should have firm understanding of how to use them effectively:
- Database software (Microsoft Excel, Access)
- Finance software(PeopleSoft Financials, Cognos and GL Packages)
Retail Accountant Education and Training
The minimum requirement to become a retail accountant is a bachelor’s degree in accounting, mathematics, or a similar subject. A master’s degree in these subjects can increase job prospects. Employers often favor applicants who have certification, such as the certified public accountant (CPA) credential. Many colleges help students gain practical experience through internships, which can be advantageous to an applicant’s resume by providing demonstrable experience.
Retail Accountant Salary and Outlook
The median annual salary for retail accountants is $68,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Retail accountants in the lowest 10th percentile earn around $42,000 a year, while the highest paid earn over $120,000 annually. Bonuses and profit-sharing schemes can account for $6,000 on top of base salaries, while commissions can reach up to $10,000. Nearly 75 percent of people in this role receive medical coverage, and nearly 60 percent have dental coverage, according to PayScale. The BLS predicts this sector will grow by 10 percent through 2026.
We’ve collected some of the best resources to help you learn more about working as a retail accountant:
Accounting and Audit – with over 130,000 members, there’s no better place for networking than this LinkedIn group. Whatever the question, from technical expertise to job opportunities, there’s sure to be someone willing to help in this useful and friendly accounting group
“Hitting the Books: A Guide to Retail Accounting” – this article highlights the challenges and tasks that come with working as a retail accountant, and provides a great overview of the job as a whole
Accounting – now in its 25th edition, this book’s clear guidance helps students learn accounting principles. It features clear examples that easily illustrate points and enhance the reader’s knowledge of this complex topic
Accounting (Baron’s Business Review Series) – the new sixth edition of the popular Accountingbook is a great supplement to textbooks and works well as a main text for business programs. From key accounting terms and computational problems to financial statements, this comprehensive guide covers everything aspiring retail accountants need to know
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