Accountancy and Auditing

At Brimstone we recruit for Accountancy and Auditing staff at all levels and across all industry sectors.  We have many years experience in this area and your Account Manager for this area will have ACCA qualifications themselves.

We can provide skills in both mainstream and niche areas of Accountancy and Audit (note IT Audit falls under our InfoSec team).

  • Financial Accountants
  • Management Accountants
  • Part qualified and QBE's
  • Niche e.g. Forensic, Product, Systems...
  • Sales Ledger/Credit Control
  • Purchase Ledger
  • Internal Auditors
  • External Auditors i.e. Practice
  • Seniors
  • Semi Seniors

Below is some information on Accounting and Audit; you may find it helpful if you are not familiar with recruiting in this area.

What's an Audit?

An audit of financial statements aims to express or disclaim an opinion on the financial statements. The auditor expresses an opinion on the fairness with which the financial statements presents the financial position, results of operations, and cash flows of an entity, in accordance with GAAP and "in all material respects". An auditor is also required to identify circumstances in which GAAP has not been consistently observed.

Accounting Information Systems
An accounting information system is a part of an organisation's information system that focuses almost exclusively on processing quantitative data.

Professional Accounting Bodies
Professional accounting bodies include the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), CPA Australia, and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW). Professional bodies for subfields of the accounting professions also exist, for example the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA). Professional bodies may offer the chartered accountant qualification.
Accounting firms

Depending on its size, a company may be legally required to have their financial statements audited by a qualified auditor, and audits are usually carried out by accounting firms.  Accounting firms grew in the United States and Europe in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, and through several mergers there were large international accounting firms by the mid-twentieth century. Further large mergers in the late twentieth century led to the dominance by the auditing market by the Big Five accounting firms: Arthur Andersen, Deloitte, Ernst & Young (now EY), KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers (now PWC). The demise of Arthur Andersen following the Enron scandal reduced the Big Five to the Big Four.

Accounting standards and Convergence of accounting standards
Generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) are issued by standard-setting organizations. For example, the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) issues the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).
Organizations in individual countries may issue accounting standards unique to the countries. For example, in the United States the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issues the Statements of Financial Accounting Standards, which form the basis of US GAAP, and in the United Kingdom the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) sets accounting standards. However, as of 2012 "all major economies" have plans to converge towards or adopt the IFRS.

Education and Qualifications

Accounting degrees:
At least a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field is required for most accountant and auditor job positions, and some employers prefer applicants with a master's degree. A degree in accounting may also be required for, or may be used to fulfil the requirements for, membership to professional accounting bodies. For example, the education during an accounting degree can be used to fulfil the American Institute of CPA's (AICPA) 150 semester hour requirement, and associate membership with the Certified Public Accountants Association of the UK is available after gaining a degree in finance or accounting.

A doctorate is required in order to pursue a career in accounting academia, for example to work as a university professor. The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) are the most popular degrees. The PhD is the most common degree for those wishing to pursue a career in academia, while DBA programs generally focus on equipping business executives for business or public careers requiring research skills and qualifications.

Professional Qualifications

Professional Accounting vary depending on countries although many are global some main qualifications include:

  • ICAEW -Chartered Accountant designations and other qualifications including certificates and diplomas. In the United Kingdom, chartered accountants of the ICAEW undergo annual training, and are bound by the ICAEW's code of ethics and subject to its disciplinary procedures. Chartered Accountants usually focus on Financial Accounting.  
  • ACCA is the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and is a broader skill set and lend itself to candidates who are less sure of the direction they wish to go in re career.  Also the ACCA is offered more in industry that Pratice
  • CIMA is the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and as the name suggests focusses on Management Accounting and is used in both C & I to produce regular Budgets and Forcasts to ensure the business is on track.
  • CIPFA is the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy and is a professional institute for accountants working in the public services.
  • ATII stands for "Associate of the Taxation Institute Incorporated" a specilaise qualification in Taxation
  • AAT is the Association of Accounting Technicians (designatory letters MAAT or FMAAT, standing for "Member of the Association of Accounting Technicians" or "Fellow Member of the Association of Accounting Technicians", respectively) is the UK’s leading body offering a qualification at a level between that of 'bookkeeper' and that of the Recognised Qualifying Bodies.
  • There are many other country specific e.g. In the United States, the requirements for joining the AICPA as a Certified Public Accountant are set by the Board of Accountancy of each state, and members agree to abide by the AICPA's Code of Professional Conduct and Bylaws.

Accounting Research
Accounting research is research on the effects of economic events on the process of accounting, and the effects of reported information on economic events. It encompasses a broad range of research areas including financial accounting, management accounting, auditing and taxation.
Accounting research is carried out both by academic researchers and practicing accountants. Academic accounting research "addresses all aspects of the accounting profession" using the scientific method, while research by practicing accountants focuses on solving problems for a client or group of clients. Academic accounting research can make significant contribution to accounting practice, although changes in accounting education and the accounting academia in recent decades has led to a divide between academia and practice in accounting.

Methodologies in academic accounting research can be classified into archival research, which examines "objective data collected from repositories"; experimental research, which examines data "the researcher gathered by administering treatments to subjects"; and analytical research, which is "based on the act of formally modelling theories or substantiating ideas in mathematical terms". This classification is not exhaustive; other possible methodologies include the use of case studies, computer simulations and field research.

Accounting and Computer Software
Many laborious practices have been simplified with the help of computer software. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software provides a comprehensive, centralized, integrated source of information that companies can use to manage all major business processes, from purchasing to manufacturing to human resources. This software can replace up to 200 individual software programs that were previously used. Computer integrated manufacturing allows products to be made and completely untouched by human hands and can increase production by having less errors in the manufacturing process.

Computers have reduced the cost of accumulating, storing, and reporting managerial accounting information and have made it possible to produce a more detailed account of all data that is entered into any given system. They have also changed business to business interaction through e-commerce. Rather than dealing with multiple companies to purchase products, a business can purchase a product at a less expensive price and take out the third party and vastly reduces expenses companies once accrued.
Additionally, Inter-organizational information system enable suppliers and businesses to be connected at all times. When a company is low on a product the supplier will be notified and fulfil an order immediately which eliminates the need for someone to do inventory, fill out the proper documents, send them out and wait for their products.

Accounting Scandals
The year 2001 witnessed a series of financial information frauds involving Enron, auditing firm Arthur Andersen, the telecommunications company WorldCom, Qwest and Sunbeam, among other well-known corporations. These problems highlighted the need to review the effectiveness of accounting standards, auditing regulations and corporate governance principles. In some cases, management manipulated the figures shown in financial reports to indicate a better economic performance. In others, tax and regulatory incentives encouraged over-leveraging of companies and decisions to bear extraordinary and unjustified risk.

The Enron scandal deeply influenced the development of new regulations to improve the reliability of financial reporting, and increased public awareness about the importance of having accounting standards that show the financial reality of companies and the objectivity and independence of auditing firms.

In addition to being the largest bankruptcy reorganization in American history, the Enron scandal undoubtedly is the biggest audit failure. It involved a financial scandal of Enron Corporation and their auditors Arthur Andersen, which was revealed in late 2001. The scandal caused the dissolution of Arthur Andersen, which at the time was one of the five largest accounting firms in the world. After a series of revelations involving irregular accounting procedures conducted throughout the 1990s, Enron filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December 2001.
One consequence of these events was the passage of Sarbanes–Oxley Act in 2002, as a result of the first admissions of fraudulent behaviour made by Enron. The act significantly raises criminal penalties for securities fraud, for destroying, altering or fabricating records in federal investigations or any scheme or attempt to defraud shareholders.