accountant

noun
ac·​coun·​tant | \ ə-ˈkau̇n-tᵊnt How to pronounce accountant (audio) \

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 \ ə-​ˈkau̇n-​tᵊn(t)-​ˌship How to pronounce accountantship (audio) \ noun

Examples of accountant in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Byrd grew up in Southern California, the daughter of an accountant dad and nurse mother, both of whom immigrated from the Philippines as adults. Carolyn Said, SFChronicle.com, "In ever-changing Bay Area, Coast Guard captain has complex assignment," 4 Jan. 2020 Those of us voting against the increase (in 2012 and again in November 2018) predicted what would happen next: Families with that kind of money would find better tax accountants — or would simply move out of state. Will Swaim, National Review, "Can California Top Its Most Ironic Political Stories of 2019?," 3 Jan. 2020 The Country Music Association has hired Sarah Abell as operations manager and Leslie London as senior staff accountant, it was announced Thursday (Dec. 19). Chris Eggertsen, Billboard, "Executive Turntable: Moves at Warner Chappell, Collective Artist Management & More," 20 Dec. 2019 One case involves Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.'s attempt to enforce a grand jury subpoena issued to the president's accountants for eight years of Trump's tax records. Robert Barnes, Anchorage Daily News, "Supreme Court will take up Trump’s broad claims of protection from investigation," 13 Dec. 2019 Lopez and his friend, accountant Brett Finley, are described as victims in the case by law-enforcement officials, having purchased memorabilia under false pretenses from ex-Disney employee Patrick Spikes. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Robin Lopez was unknowingly sold stolen vintage items from Disney World, according to Orlando Sentinel," 28 Oct. 2019 Bingman is an accountant with more than 20 years experience and has worked for the city since 2016. John Tuohy, Indianapolis Star, "Once fired and rehired, clerk-treasurer employee named to top job in Carmel," 24 Dec. 2019 The union was paid $163,000 to cover legal fees and a forensic accountant. Aubrey Wieber, Anchorage Daily News, "Anchorage payroll error settlements cost the city an estimated $16 million," 19 Dec. 2019 One case involves Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.’s attempt to enforce a grand jury subpoena issued to the president’s accountants for eight years of Trump’s tax records. BostonGlobe.com, "WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court announced Friday that it will take up President Trump’s broad claims of protection from investigation, raising the prospect of a landmark election-year ruling on the limits of presidential power.," 14 Dec. 2019

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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Time Traveler for accountant

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for accountant

Last Updated

11 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Accountant.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/accountantship. Accessed 19 January 2020.

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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
How to pronounce accountant (audio)

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 How to pronounce accountant (audio) \

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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