What are different types of accounting jobs

Bookkeeping, financial accounting & balance sheet accounting - what are the differences?

Do you need help with your accounting? We explain the differences between accountants, financial accountants and accountants and help you find the right advisor.

It is not always easy to keep track of similar or related professions - especially if you are not active in the field yourself. If you are looking for help with accounting, it can quickly become overwhelming to find the right consultant for the desired task, because there are many specializations and further training courses in the field.

It starts with the distinction between an accountant, a financial accountant and an accountant.

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We would like to provide you with clarity and would like to introduce you to the different focal points of the three professions and which training courses and areas of responsibility they are based on.

In this way you can decide which type of consultant is right for you and you can find the right accountant for your needs at Ageras.

Find the right accountant


The task of accounting is to document all so-called business transactions. These are processes that affect the company's assets, i.e. all incoming and outgoing invoices. An example of this would be wage payments. Accountants ensure the smooth organization of finance and accounting, because according to commercial law (§ 238 HGB) there is a so-called accounting obligation. The business cases are processed according to the principles of proper bookkeeping (GoB) and commercial law regulations.

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What does the training to become an accountant include?

The training to become an accountant is not subject to any statutory regulation and the job title is not protected. There are several ways to become an “accountant”. Most often, however, is a commercial training with an IHK exam z. B. to complete as a retail or office clerk, but career changers with commercial knowledge can also acquire relevant knowledge during retraining and thus enter the field. Strictly speaking, anyone can call themselves an accountant. It is therefore important to pay attention to the professional experience of the consultant in your search. However, you can acquire a certificate as a “certified accountant” by passing an examination at the Chamber of Industry and Commerce. To be admitted to this, the person must meet one of the following requirements:

  • Completed vocational training in the commercial sector with at least 2 years of professional experience
  • at least 5 years of professional experience in accounting

What tasks does the accountant take on?

Depending on the size of the company, accounting includes the following areas of responsibility:

  • Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable - This area takes care of the processing of all incoming and outgoing invoices. Accounts Receivable deals with the customer's business, while Accounts Payable deals with the vendors.
  • Payroll accounting - This area records all income payments to employees and calculates the associated social benefits such as pension and health insurance contributions as well as payments to the unemployment insurance.
  • Asset accounting - This area manages goods, i.e. the company's machines or real estate.
  • Financial accounting - This area documents all financial transactions and is responsible for external accounting and auditing. In addition, dunning usually belongs to this department.

An accountant can therefore specialize in individual areas, in particular through specific further training. Such training makes the difference between an accountant and a financial accountant.

What is the cost of accounting for a tax advisor?

Financial accountant

As a financial accountant you are part of a company's operational accounting. The focus here is on external accounting. The tasks of financial accounting range from accounts payable and accounts receivable to preparatory closing work, such as monthly, quarterly or annual financial statements, to the preparation of strategic questions relating to financial management. The financial accountant is often the first point of contact for the managing director when it comes to controlling and planning business processes.

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What does the training to become a financial accountant include?

Financial accountant is a commercial training course, the examination of which is regulated by the chambers of crafts. The admission requirements, duration and content of the training can vary depending on the chamber, as these are determined internally and independently. The basic requirement, however, is, as with the “certified accountant” exam, a completed commercial training and at least 1 year of professional experience. If this is not the case, admission can also be obtained after at least five years of professional experience in the field of finance and accounting. Most chambers issue a certificate with the respective further training content after a successful examination.

What tasks does the financial accountant take on?

Generally speaking, financial accountants take on tasks in the areas of bookkeeping and accounting. This includes bookkeeping and management, dealing with tax issues and working in financial management. For the more detailed tasks, the financial accountant must prepare balance sheets and financial statements for different accounting periods, assess values ​​such as trade tax liability and payment amount, and calculate company profits and losses. In addition, they have to post incoming and outgoing invoices and check them for accuracy and content, manage accounts, process payment transactions for the company, book wages, prepare figures for the controllers and assess types of financing.

In contrast to accountants, financial accountants specialize in finance, which means that they also work closely with financial management.


The difference between a financial accountant and an accountant lies in the areas of responsibility. While the financial accountant only specializes in a part of the entire operational accounting of a company, the areas of responsibility of a balance sheet accountant are broadly diversified, although this also depends on the size of the company. Since accountants have an overview of the financial situation of a company and thus know exactly about the liquidity and profitability, they are often directly subordinate to the managing director as the head of accounting.

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What does the training to become an accountant include?

The training to become an accountant, like the financial accountant, is a further training that builds on already existing professional knowledge. In contrast to the financial accountant and the certified accountant, the examination is regulated nationwide and the subsequent job title is protected by the term “certified accountant”. Accordingly, there are also stricter requirements for admission to the examination and one of the following criteria must be met:

  • a completed commercial apprenticeship for at least three years and an additional 3 years of professional experience in corporate accounting
  • a successfully completed degree in business administration or economics as well as 2 years of professional experience
  • at least 6 years of professional experience in accounting

With further training to become an accountant and seven years of professional experience, you also meet the requirements for participation in the tax advisor examination and subsequent activity as a tax advisor.

What tasks does the accountant take on?

The field of activity depends primarily on the size, industry and organization of the company. Accountants can be specialists in a defined sub-area, generalists or even managers at the top. Generally speaking, accountants have far more responsibilities than other accountants. Their everyday tasks can include: monitoring corporate accounting, checking and posting income and expenses, preparing balance sheets and financial statements, clarifying tax issues, calculating cost types, planning budgets and preparing strategic planning. In addition, staff management as well as organization and implementation of in-company training can also be part of their tasks.

Accountants, financial accountants & accountants in comparison

In general, the activities and responsibilities of accountants, financial accountants and accountants can overlap. Depending on the size of the company, they work as generalists or as specialists. Accountants can choose from a variety of advanced training courses. Financial accountants or accountants are two of the most popular options here. While financial accountants focus on the field of external accounting, the field of accountant can again be more broadly based. In addition, it is not uncommon for an accountant to take on management tasks as well. Accordingly, the accountant exam is a lot more extensive, but the salary is also a lot higher. The following overviews give an overview of the differences in salaries and core competencies:




Financial accountant


Salary with up to 5 years of professional experience *

€ 3,400 gross per month

€ 4,100 gross per month

€ 4,350 gross per month

Salary after 5 years of professional experience *

€ 4,100 gross per month

€ 4,700 gross per month

€ 4,980 gross monthly

* These are mean values ​​without guarantee.

Depending on personal qualifications, region and company size, deviations up and down are possible.

Core competencies


  • Accounting
  • Bookkeeping
  • accounting
  • Commercial law
  • Annual financial statements
  • Cost and performance accounting
  • Tax law
  • Payment transactions

Financial accountant

  • Bookkeeping
  • Cost and performance accounting
  • Accounting
  • Corporate tax law
  • Basic knowledge of law and finance
  • EDP ​​financial accounting


  • Business administration
  • Economics
  • Accounting basics
  • Financial management
  • Cost and performance accounting
  • Annual financial statements under commercial law
  • Interim financial statements
  • Degree according to international standards
  • Accounting organization
  • Accounting
  • reporting
  • trade balance
  • Tax balance

What you have to pay for an accountant is shown in the fee table of independent accountants and accountants of the b.h.h. (Federal Association of Independent Accountants and Accountants) recommended. At Ageras you can get up to 3 free and non-binding offers in your region and get a quick overview of the exact costs for a suitable accountant.

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