What are the Responsibilities of a Small Business Accountant?

Posted by Mary Milorrie Campos
Mar 18, 2021
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Do-it-yourself accounting is doable, that’s a fact. But it can consume more resources than you can imagine. At the end of the day, the support provided by an accountant is still essential to achieve better financial health. In this article, we’ll explore the different types of accountants that are best suited for your small business, as well as their common duties and responsibilities.

what are the responsibilities of an accountant

Accountant responsibilities according to type

In general, the goal of having accountants is to set your business in a better financial position. Their main responsibility is to make sure that your accounting processes are following all applicable domestic or international principles, laws, regulations, or standards. On top of this, they also provide valuable insights into your cash flow and bottom line. 

If you’re currently in the process of building or restructuring your accounting department, getting familiar with the different types of accountants lets you know the service and help they can contribute to your business.

See the list below for the common accounting roles for small businesses:


Staff Accountant

Hiring a staff accountant is a good start if you need assistance with basic accounting or bookkeeping duties. Staff accountants are expected to take on a variety of work such as:

  • accounts payable and receivable management,
  • budget creation, 
  • bank reconciliations, 
  • cash management, 
  • payroll management, 
  • financial statement preparation, and
  • maintenance of your company’s general and subsidiary accounts.

Because of the scope of service they can provide, they are often considered generalists of the field. However, as your accounting becomes more complicated, you must consider looking for accountants who specialize in certain areas, such as the ones listed in the succeeding sections.


Tax Accountant

Corporate taxes are complicated. With untrained eyes, you can miss important details that may lead to penalties. Getting a tax accountant helps you prevent this.

Tax accountants have a good command of international, local, and state tax laws and regulations. With their help, you’ll be more confident of staying in compliance with annual tax codes.

Depending on your needs, you can hire either an entry-level or a senior-level accountant.

Entry-level tax accountants are new to this area but already have the necessary knowledge about how taxation works. You can entrust them with basic tasks such as filling out business tax returns, managing tax liability statements, calculating your clients’ earnings, and the like.

Meanwhile, senior-level tax accountants serve as consultants. They can help you create financial plans to legally lower your tax liabilities. Moreover, they’re also in charge of ensuring you’re on top of all applicable tax laws and regulations.


Management Accountant

Management accountants specialize in assessing financial information and using it to help you develop a well-rounded business strategy. There are several ways management accountants can add value to your organization.

Some of the common management accountant key responsibilities are:

  • risk management,
  • profitability analysis,
  • external financial reporting, and
  • budgeting/financial planning.

When you’re making strategic moves, consider seeking their insights.


Hiring an accountant is a worthy long-term investment. Not only can they take over your accounting duties but they can also give you guidance in lowering your business expenses while maximizing your profits.

The final list of the responsibilities of an accountant still depends on your agreed-upon stipulations. It is still better to consult with an accountant to find out the scope and limitations of the service.

If you’re looking for a more affordable way to hire an accountant, give outsourcing a try. You can read our free guide, Outsourcing: How to Make it Work, to see if it suits your business needs and requirements.

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Our Outsourcing: How to Make it Work guide explores how you can utilize accounting and finance outsourcing to drive growth to your business and add value to your processes.