accountant

noun
ac·​coun·​tant | \ə-ˈkau̇n-tᵊnt \

Definition of accountant 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : one that gives an account or is accountable

2 : one who is skilled in the practice of accounting or who is in charge of public or private accounts

accountant

adjective

Definition of accountant (Entry 2 of 2)

obsolete

: accountable, answerable I stand accountant for as great a sin— William Shakespeare

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Other Words from accountant

Noun

accountantship \ -​tᵊn(t)-​ˌship \ noun

Examples of accountant in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Wealthy individuals are frequently advised by their accountants to do this to avoid the (quite low) inheritance tax. E.j. Roller, Vox, "We need to talk about how family money can make or break an arts career," 12 Nov. 2018 There was, for example, the accountant who couldn’t understand how nine hundred people were on a project that had jobs for only seven hundred. William Finnegan, The New Yorker, "Can Andy Byford Save the Subways?," 2 July 2018 With his fussy pince-nez and ever-present sheaf of papers, Beale makes Beria seem like the most evil accountant in the world, a torturer and rapist who is simply making a list and checking it twice. Katie Walsh, idahostatesman, "Armando Iannucci’s ‘The Death of Stalin’ a mix of absurd, tragic comedy | Idaho Statesman," 5 Apr. 2018 Much like lawyers and accountants, actuaries have a professional duty to protect the public and to serve the greater good. Mary Williams Walsh, BostonGlobe.com, "Jeremy Gold, 75, actuary who warned of pension crisis," 14 July 2018 Lawyers, accountants, fund managers, and real-estate agents have become a kind of butler class to the extraordinarily wealthy, helping them to reinvest or to hide their wealth. Ed Caesar, The New Yorker, "The Reputation-Laundering Firm That Ruined Its Own Reputation," 25 May 2018 That analysis showed McKinsey initially identified by name a total of 59 connections to participating debtors, creditors, lawyers and accountants in those cases. Tom Corrigan, WSJ, "Turnaround Veteran Jay Alix Sues Consulting Giant McKinsey," 9 May 2018 The heavy scent of citrus blossom hung outside the Hilton Park hotel in Nicosia, Cyprus, where about 100 small-business owners, lawyers, accountants, and their partners packed into the ballroom to mark the Chinese New Year. Alan Crawford, Bloomberg.com, "Everything Is for Sale in Cyprus, and China’s Buying," 24 Apr. 2018 Clamp a sales tax on services provided, for example, by lawyers, accountants and architects. George Skelton, latimes.com, "California's candidates for governor don't talk about taxes much. They need to start," 23 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'accountant.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of accountant

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for accountant

Noun

Middle English accomptaunt, accountant "official in charge of accounts," borrowed from Anglo-French acomptant, noun derivative of accountaunt, present participle of acunter, acompter "to account entry 2"

Adjective

Middle English accomptaunt, borrowed from Anglo-French accountaunt, from present participle of acunter, acompter "to account entry 2"

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Last Updated

15 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for accountant

The first known use of accountant was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for accountant

accountant

noun

Financial Definition of accountant

What It Is

An accountant is trained to compile, inspect, interpret, and/or report financial statements and tax returns that comply with governmental and regulatory authority requirements.

How It Works

Accountants often work in a company's accounting department, at an auditing firm, or in a private practice. Regardless of where they work, an accountant's work generally revolves around recording, measuring, and presenting financial information.

In a company's accounting department, accounting functions often include billing customers, collecting payment, paying vendors and employees, reconciling bank accounts, calculating and remitting taxes, and correctly recording transactions among subsidiaries and ventures. They also include creating budgets, setting spending policies, and making or participating in major business decisions.

Audit work includes verifying a company's financial information, helping a company determine the appropriate accounting treatment for complex transactions, and providing public opinions about the quality of a company's accounting records. Accountants in private practice may provide bookkeeping services for small companies, prepare tax returns for companies and individuals, or offer consulting services for certain types of transactions or industries.

Many accountants seek certifications to evidence their attainment of certain levels of professional competence. These certifications include Certified Professional Accountant (CPA), Certified Management Accountant (CMA), and Certified Internal Auditor (CIA). Some accountants also specialize in certain areas of accounting, such as tax accounting, oil and gas accounting, forensic accounting (bankruptcy), or international accounting.

Why It Matters

Although people often refer to accountants as "bean counters" who focus on the smallest details, accountants have the rare advantage of being able to understand both the details of each area of a company and the big picture. This broad and deep knowledge is why CEOs often come from the ranks of accounting and finance.

Effective accountants must be able to solve problems creatively and analyze information to gain insight into situations. They must also be able to persuasively discuss and defend their views, stay abreast of new e-commerce and software technologies, manage projects and deadlines, and have the confidence to make recommendations and policies that affect an entire organization. Above all, successful accountants are good communicators, act ethically, and rigorously follow the law and accounting rules.

It is very important to understand that not all accountants are CPAs. CPAs are licensed by the states in which they practice. To become a CPA, an accountant must complete a formal program of study at a college or university, pass the Uniform CPA Examination administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and have a certain amount of related work experience. Each state's board of accountancy determines the exact requirements in each of these three areas. In some states, only CPAs can perform certain accounting functions. The Securities and Exchange Commission also requires that only CPAs perform certain functions.

Each state board of accountancy requires its CPAs to keep current on accounting rules and practices by taking Continuing Professional Education (CPE) courses each year. Each board determines how many CPE credits a CPA in that state must obtain each year and what activities warrant these credits.

Source: Investing Answers

accountant

noun

English Language Learners Definition of accountant

: someone whose job is to keep the financial records of a business or person

accountant

noun
ac·​coun·​tant | \ə-ˈkau̇n-tᵊnt \

Kids Definition of accountant

: someone whose job is keeping the financial records of a person or a business

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More from Merriam-Webster on accountant

Spanish Central: Translation of accountant

Nglish: Translation of accountant for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of accountant for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about accountant

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