Technical Accounting vs. Accounting: 4 Key Differences

As a prospective accounting student, or future professional accountant, you’ve probably come across the terms ‘technical accountant’ and ‘Chartered Accountant (CA)’ quite frequently. But do you know exactly what these terms mean? And are you aware of the differences that exist between them?

Accountants typically handle more administrative duties, such as conducting audits, collecting data and completing taxes on the company’s behalf. They often go to the technical accountants for advice, guidance and in-depth research on certain subjects to help them better perform in their roles.

Bookkeeping vs Accounting: What’s the difference? How should you choose?

What does a technical accountant do?

Technical accountants stay updated on new financial reporting requirements and apply these standards and guidelines using their combination of advanced accounting and technical knowledge. If any regulatory changes occur, they provide expert advice and guidance on the potential problems or implications that could arise and how to avoid them. They also lead the preparation of technical accounting for the entire team by creating accounting policies according to industry practices.

Other key responsibilities of technical accountants include:

What is technical accounting?

Technical accounting involves completing accounting and financial duties that require more advanced technical skills and knowledge. Most technical accountants use both their technical capabilities and basic accounting knowledge to conduct research, review others work for errors or issues and analyze financial data after inputting it into spreadsheets.

Technical accounts also provide their accounting team members and other employees expert technical advice and may implement new policies, improvements or changes to ensure a healthy financial status for the organization.

What does an accountant do?

An accountant is a financial professional who collects, tracks and communicates the financial goals and status of an organization. They complete basic financial duties like gathering and interpreting data sets, conducting audits, helping build budgets and making financial forecasts. Accountants are great at handling large amounts of numerical data and completing various financial duties within tight deadlines. They also have a strong understanding of various financial and accounting regulations and practices to ensure they stay within financial guidelines at all times.

Common job duties of an accountant include:

Technical accounting vs. accounting

While theyre both significantly important roles a business needs to stay financially stable, there are some differences when it comes to their tasks, knowledge and qualifications. Key differences between technical accounting and accounting include:

Complexity of tasks

Most technical accountants must have in-depth knowledge of both generally accepted accounting principles and software technologies to research and stay ahead of legal tax regulations and guidelines. Because of this, many of them are responsible of high-level tasks, like advising accounting teams on financial strategies to pursue, implementing new policies based on their research and reviewing others work for any potential errors that could impact the companys financial compliancy.

Accountants typically handle more administrative duties, such as conducting audits, collecting data and completing taxes on the companys behalf. They often go to the technical accountants for advice, guidance and in-depth research on certain subjects to help them better perform in their roles.

Education and training

Most employers require accountants to hold at least a bachelors degree in accounting, business, economics or a related field. While its not usually required, it can be impressive for accountants to earn their masters degree in business administration or business management to stand out on their application or to receive advanced consideration for management-level roles.

Employers usually require technical accountants to earn a masters in business administration, since the tasks they complete are typically complex and high-level. Coursework they typically take in this program is managerial accounting, organizational behavior, advanced governmental and nonprofit accounting and international accounting. Some positions may also require technical accountants to earn their Certified Public Accountant or Certified Management Accountant credentials, especially if they want to advance further in the company.

Experience

Many accountant positions are entry-level roles that candidates can pursue right after graduating with their bachelors degree. Most employers require little to no experience to perform in entry-level accounting positions. After spending a few years working in the role, some accountants may advance to higher-level positions. Some may even qualify to work as a technical accountant.

Becoming a technical accountant usually requires a few years of experience in an accounting or related role. Some accountants may work for a few years in their position and may earn additional education or certifications to eventually move up to a technical accountant career.

Salary

FAQ

What is the difference between accounting and technical accounting?

A CA therefore plays a far more senior role within an organisation, and focuses more on the overall financial performance of an organisation, while a technical accountant focuses more on the day-to-day accounting tasks.

What is difference between accountant and accounting?

Accountancy concentrates on broader principles without getting into detailed specifics. Accounting focuses on collecting and reporting, while accountancy includes many other areas, such as forecasting, auditing, bookkeeping and financial decision-making.

How can I get into technical accounting?

Requirements
  1. Proven work experience in a Technical Accounting role.
  2. Fair knowledge of SEC filing requirements, experience highly preferred.
  3. Must have at least three years of work experience in a Big 4 CPA firm.
  4. Must have knowledge of US GAAP.
  5. Strong working knowledge of GAAP principles and financial statements.

Is accounting very technical?

Accounting is an exact field, which means there is little room for error. Not surprising then, employers are looking for technical skills in their accountants to ensure they have the expertise to accurately and ethically manage, analyze, and report on an organization’s or individual’s financial activities.

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