Stereotypes and misconceptions can make it hard to distinguish facts from myths. Many false beliefs surround the accountancy field too.
Some of the common accounting myths that can mislead people and may lead to unfortunate consequences are:
1. Small business doesn’t need an accountant
Most small business owners avoid hiring an accountant because they believe it can increase their expenses.
But an accountant can help them improve the business’s profitability while saving their time, efforts, and money at the same time.
2. Accounting is boring
Accounting is not a dull profession that involves crunching numbers all day long.
There are many exciting and intriguing accounting jobs that you can take on, like:
● Forensic accounting
It involves acting as detectives of the accounting sector by taking care of the financial errors and discrepancies.
● Project accounting
Under project accounting, an accountant has to supervise all the details of a project, including planning the budget, approving the expenses, preparing and collecting invoices, and ensuring timely completion of the project.
● Management accounting
Management accountants guide the business owners in making critical strategic decisions after analysing the business’s financial position.
● Investment accounting
Investment accountants help their clients manage their assets and returns from the investments.
3. All accountants know how to do taxes
Not all accountants know how to do taxes.
Like finance accounting, management accounting, and cost accounting, tax accounting is just one of the branches of accounting with its duties and responsibilities.
Tax accounting involves preparing and filing tax returns by the deadlines. Tax accountants are responsible for verifying the business’s compliance with the tax laws and regulations by ensuring that all the tax obligations are met.
Most accountants will have a general knowledge of taxes, but not all have expertise in it.
4. It is okay to do accounting only at tax time
To stay on top of your finances, you need to perform the accounting functions throughout the year. Regular bookkeeping allows you to determine your financial position, benefit from the growth opportunities, forecast the future trends and be prepared for any risk.
5. Accounting means sitting at the desk
When you hear the word accounting, it is common to picture a person sitting in a cubicle working on a massive pile of files and paper and working on excel all day long.
But that is not the truth.
Accounting is not a desk-bound job. Accountants have to perform other functions also including:
● Attending client meetings
● Conducting site visits for auditing
● Performing inventory and equipment checks by visiting factories and warehouses
● Taking parts in discussions and advising the business owner to improve the financial performance of the business
● Travel overseas in some cases
6. Separate bank accounts for personal and business use are not important
It is essential to have different bank accounts for personal and business expenses to track your business transactions and manage your cash flows efficiently.
Separating your business bank account from your personal bank account will make you less susceptible to an audit. And even if your business goes through an audit, separate business finances provide a clear audit trail that will make the whole process much smoother.
7. You must be a maths genius to become an accountant
You don’t have to be a genius at maths to become an accountant. Accountants should have basic math skills because accounting software can now handle high level and complicated maths.
Instead, accountants need to be more analytical and have in-depth knowledge of accounting rules and regulations.
8. Accounting is a male-dominated profession
Accounting is not a man’s career. In fact, in recent years, women have worked hard to bridge this gender gap.
One such example is Nikki Haley, who was not only one of the prominent female accountants but was also the US ambassador to the United Nations from 2017-2018 and the first female governor of South Carolina.
9. Automation will replace accountants
Automation has made the work of accountants easier rather than making them redundant. Many accounting processes have become automated, but this only shifts the accounting role.
Accountants’ expertise is always needed to ensure the compliance of a company’s record and analyse its financial report to formulate strategies for the company.
10. Accounting is all about having numerical skills
While having numerical skills is an essential aspect of accounting, it is not all about dealing with numbers.
Apart from having basic numerical skills, an accountant must possess the following skills:
● Communication skills to communicate better with the clients, management, and people from other business departments.
● Technical skills to be able to work with accounting tools and software.
● An eye for detail to spot any error in the company’s books and analyse the future trends.
● Problem-solving and analytical skills to ensure the accuracy of every detail of the company’s books and analyse its financial position.
● Time management and organisation skills to meet all the deadlines while following the accounting laws and regulations.