Exploring this Job
Read articles about news and trends in the tax accounting field. Find industry-related newsletters in the publications section of the National Association of Tax Professionals' Web site, https://www.natptax.com/publications. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants also offers publications for a wide variety of accounting topics and specializations, including tax publications. Start with the overview of its publications and then search for the areas that interest you most: https://www.aicpa.org/publications.html.
A part-time job or an internship in an accounting firm that offers tax planning and tax return services is a good way to see firsthand what tax accounting entails and if this is the type of work for you. Search for opportunities though your school's career services office, professional associations, and through accounting companies directly. Another way to gain more insight into tax accounting is by conducting an informational interview with a tax accountant. Professional associations can help with locating tax accountants who are interested in sharing information about their careers.
Tax accountants prepare tax returns and forms for corporations and individuals. They may work for large companies, medium-sized businesses, or with individual clients. They review clients' financial information and advise clients on steps they can take to minimize or eliminate tax liabilities. They use the data they collect to prepare financial reports, calculate taxes owed, complete tax returns, and ensure that clients file their tax returns and pay their taxes on time.
Tax accountants keep clients apprised of tax laws and any changes to the tax laws that may affect their businesses or their individual tax plans and filings. They follow accounting industry standards for creating financial statements and tax returns. They follow what is known as generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) in conducting their work. They also adhere to federal, state, and local tax accounting and reporting requirements.
In addition to having strong mathematical skills and knowledge of government regulations, tax accountants need to be well versed in various accounting software programs. The types of programs they use for their work include accounting software such as Intuit QuickBooks and Sage 50 Accounting; database user interface and query software like Microsoft Access; enterprise resource planning software such as Oracle PeopleSoft and Microsoft Dynamics; financial analysis software such as Brentmark Estate Planning Quickview; as well as tax preparation software like ATX Total Tax Office and Intuit Lacerte, to name only a few.