Last Updated on August 12, 2023 by Oluwajuwon Alvina
A bachelor’s degree in accounting prepares graduates for work with financial information of different businesses and organizations. This study includes financial, management and tax accounting, together with auditing, along with accounting information systems.
The duties of a graduate student of accounting include overseeing, preparing financial and tax information of companies, businesses and governmental bodies, as well as helping individual clients to prepare for tax day, analyzing tax forms, plus summarizing current financial status.
Forensic accounting, or forensic accountancy, is an inter-disciplinary field that involves the use of specific accounting procedures to investigate financial statements or irregularities. It involves knowledge from other disciplines such as economy and business, financial analysis, auditing, public policy, civil or private law. Forensic accountants analyse business reports and financial evidence, and their findings can be used in legal proceedings. They are usually appealed for issues such as business valuations, bankruptcy, insolvency cases, corporate fraud and in many in other economic crimes or crimes against property.
Forensic accounting is a specialisation within the wider field of forensic studies or it can be offered as a study track in accounting. Often, studies in forensic accountancy are pursued by students or professionals who already hold a degree in accounting or a related area. Studies focus on real-life case studies, providing specialised accounting skills required for identifying fraud activities, and also a general understanding of business contexts, financial reporting systems, digital forensics and the methodologies involved in building legal evidence.
Graduates in forensic accountancy can develop careers within insurance companies, accounting and law firms, banks, police forces, government bodies, law enforcement agencies and other organizations.
Guide to Accounting Jobs in Japan
Summary of Accounting Industry in Japan
The highest possible licensing requirement an accountant in Japan can meet is the Certified Public Accountant. To achieve the CPA in Japan, it is compulsory to pass the CPA examination, and have at least two years of practicing in the field of accounting or auditing. This experience can be completed before or after achieving a passing grade in your CPA examination. The CPA examination is conducted in Japanese; therefore as a foreigner, it is necessary to achieve fluency in the Japanese language.
After you have passed the exam, it is necessary to complete a three-year course provided by the Japan Foundation for Accounting Education and Learning (JFAEL). This is a professional accountancy education program that establishes its curriculum based on requirements outlined by the International Education Standard. This ensures that graduates within the field of accountancy can apply their skills on an international scale, and are not restricted to working only in Japan. Once you have completed the program, you are qualified to take the final examination provided by the Japanese Institute of Public Accountants (JICPA), and after successfully passing the exam you will become a certified public accountant.
Accounting Standards and Principles
To be an accountant, or to work in the tax industry, it Is necessary to provide certification as a public accountant and a tax accountant. Your role as a certified public accountant is to perform regular audits under the Certified Public Accountant Law, whereas a tax accountant will regularly engage in tax agent services, including preparing documentation and providing consultations under the Certified Tax Accountant Law.
The main difference between the two forms of accounting is that a certified public accountant will have some authority over the performance of audits under the Certified Public Accountant Law, while tax accountants focus mainly on tax services, preparing tax-related documents, and consulting under the Certified Tax Consultant Law. Despite their differences, both tax accounts and public accountants need to have the added skill of business consulting, which is a topic that will be explored further in this article.
Accounting and business consulting is a broad and diverse field. Due to its multifaceted nature, it is necessary to diversify your skillset to be the best fit for Accounting Jobs in Japan.
Types of Accounting Jobs in Japan
Building a career in the field of accountancy is a smart choice. Generally, accounting produces a high median salary and has skills that are applicable and relevant in many fields. The industry is forecasted to have significant growth over the coming years, and now is the best time to join the field. However, once you begin to pursue your career within the field, you will come to realize that it is far larger and diverse than you may have initially expected. It is unrealistic to believe that there is one straight path in accounting. The field is far from homogenous, with each area having it’s own focus and specialization. The following are just a few of the many examples of Accounting Jobs in Japan and where certain qualification in accounting can take you:
Once you have obtained your CPA, you are qualified to work in a public accounting firm. These firms usually provide services in auditing, tax, consulting, and different services for clients across a diverse range of sectors. Although the role of a public accountant is rather general, it provides experience in the many different facets of an accounting role, including preparing, reviewing and finalizing financial statements, to creating budgets for company projects, and learning how to provide advice on a large scale of issues
A tax accountant helps clients and companies report their financial and income tax statements. This is a legal requirement; therefore the role of a tax accountant is crucial to the everyday operations of a business. These individuals require qualifications in the role of tax accountancy and are required to research and interpret tax law. Key responsibilities include preparing payments, identify tax savings, and analyzing potential issues.
A managerial accountant can record and analyze financial information through the organization, collecting, analyzing and preparing the data. This data is then passed onto the management team who make practical financial decisions that benefit the company. Your main responsibility would be to manage the various transactions the corporation engages in. Your role is critical to plan and forecast potential future growth, issues and outcomes. Being able to look back on past transactions using financial data to learn from mistakes is essential to grow and be able to compete in the competitive market.
Forensic accounts are provided with the skills of a chartered accountant, and are involved in investigating, providing support during disputes, reviewing insurance claims, and have oversight over issues that could lead to a court review. Generally, your role as a forensic accountant is to investigate fraud, which is unfortunately a common occurrence hidden in corporations accounting systems. Forensic accounts in this case are required to deep dive into the transactional history and provide transparency on what has occurred. This role generally finds company losses or liabilities being covered to avoid debt, rather than cash being embezzled in a company.
A financial accountant is required to have oversight over the accounting and financial activities of an organization. They have an overview of the economic stability of the company and can pass this financial information to relevant departments in the organization. From this information, departments can budget and make smart investment decisions. The main focuses of a financial accountant are costs, productivity, margins and company expenditures.
A financial planner helps individuals make decisions about their money, such as investing. Usually, their job involves executing trades in the market on behalf of others or they can create a tailored financial plan that helps clients achieve their financial objectives. Their role also extends to budgeting and strategizing around tax. Financial planners/advisors must communicate regularly with their clients so they can evaluate their current
The role of an internal auditor is similar to the role of a financial planner, in the sense that they conduct independent consultant activities based on organizational objectives that add value and improve business functions. This allows a business to accomplish its objectives by providing a systematic and disciplined approach that helps determine the potential risk of business processes. It is necessary that internal auditors work objectively to provide accurate judgment on business functions. This is also a legal requirement, as the internal auditor should not be working for the best interest of the company. For example, it is unethical and illegal for an internal auditor to fail to mention specific business processes for the benefit of the company, ie. failing to report loans and liabilities.
Skills needed for Accounting jobs in Japan
There are two kinds of skills that employers look for in their accountants: Basic soft skills and specialised accounting skills. Soft skills are designed to be applicable in any industry you choose to work in. Soft skills are professional skills that you develop as you undergo your accounting duties. This helps improve communication in the workplace and effectively leads to a time of employees. The following are examples of soft skills:
- Strong writing and public speaking skills
- Being organized and paying attention to detail
- Knowing how to problem solve and analyze complex tasks
- Time management
- Deductive reasoning
- Learning how to think critically
- Be an active, not a passive learner
- Clerical knowledge
Standing Out as an Accountant
An accounting degree provides access to great jobs in finance, analytics and forecasting. Not only that, but the skills that a career in accounting provides are transferable to any industry. However, if you want to truly excel in the accounting field, it is essential that you differentiate yourself from competitors looking for the same roles as you. The following are a few skills you need to have in your tool belt to make you stand out as an accountant.
First, take responsibility for your own growth and development: Your previous bosses may have had a strong guiding role as you began your career. They may have looked out for you, and pushed you to get the right experiences and skills to excel in your chosen field. However, for the vast majority of people this isn’t always the case. Mergers, takeovers and a fragile economy means that managers have become more uncertain about the future of work. This has caused added stress in the workplace, and has potentially shifted their focus. Because of this, it is essential that you take responsibility for your own success.
Secondly, add value to the company: Accountancy has a reputation for having too much to do in too little time. The issue is that with a tight schedule, it is easy to be occupied by the busy routine. Although these tasks need doing, completing them to the expected standard is not going to make you stand out. If you truly wish to accelerate in your career, it is essential that you distribute your time between doing your work as well as completing activities that add value to the company. Examples of these value adding activities could include: making an effort to improve work processes, increase efficiency and going out of your way to upskill.
Finally, work on your soft skills: Accountants already have well developed technical skills. However, making sure you continuously develop these skills to keep up with changing times is necessary to stay competitive. In addition to your technical skills however, it is an added bonus to have good non-technical skills. As accounting shifts more towards business partnering, being able to work in a team outside your professional field is essential. Collaboration and teamwork has become an increasingly sought after skill. Know which soft skills employers are looking for, and work towards developing these. If public speaking isn’t your forte, join a toastmasters club and work on building your confidence. If you don’t have extensive experience working in a team, find volunteer opportunities with a group of people and work towards a common goal.
Because accountants and auditors main goal is to manage financial documentation, they must be familiar with a range of software, as well as the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), The following are important technical skills that an accountant would need to take into their role:
- Reporting business financials and being able to analyze this data
- Preparing tax statements and financial statements using accounting software such as Microsoft Excel
- Accounting reconciliation
- Creating and organizing spreadsheets
- Understanding how to use software to present data