The senior accountant title is used in both the auditing and management accounting professions. In the auditing field, the senior accountant is positioned just below the manager rank and is responsible for several of the more advanced auditing tasks, such as auditing inventory. The individual has several years of experience as an auditor and is being evaluated for advancement to the manager rank.
In the management accounting field, the senior accountant typically has accumulated three to five years of experience and has the following qualifications:
- A four-year degree in accounting
- A certification as a Certified Management Accountant or a Certified Public Accountant
- Experience in dealing with the full cycle of accounting transactions, including the following:
- Payables transactions
- Billing transactions
- Payroll transactions
- Fixed asset transactions
- Inventory transactions
- Journal entry preparation
- Account reconciliations
- Preparation of financial statements
- Variance analysis
- Budget preparation
The senior accountant should have experience supervising a small number of accounting staff.
The senior accountant position can also be targeted at a specific functional area. For example, a senior accountant may be placed in charge of the payables area or payroll area. This position is located in the organizational structure of the accounting department just below the assistant controller. Senior accountants are normally promoted into the assistant controller position, from which their career path is into the controller position.