Friday 29 August 2014

Interview: What does the job of an accountant involve?

The financial services industry in Malta is one of the most stable and fast growing local industries which job seekers could tap into.

To give you a clearer picture of the available opportunities out there, for the next weeks we will be publishing a series of interviews with professionals who live and breathe these roles. 

Our first guest is Mr. Clint Abela, an accountant by profession who is on his way to becoming a CPA (Chartered Public Accountant). Mr. Abela was kind enough to answer some of our questions that will help you understand what it’s really like to work in an accounting firm. 

What is your job title and what industry do you work in? How many years of experience do you have in this field? 

I am an Accounts Supervisor at a specialised firm providing accounting & auditing services to companies across a range of industries. I have been in this role for the last 4 years.

Where/What did you study? Are you considering getting more qualifications?  What would these be and are they essential?

The role of qualifications in this career is essential as they prove you have a strong sense of focus, which is crucial for an Accountant position, where attention to detail is key. Personally I was exposed to the subject matter early on in secondary school. The subject appealed to me. To specialise,  I continued on to MCAST to complete the 3 year Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) course, which gave me a great headstart into the industry. After a while at the company, I decided to start following the ACCA examination pathway to become even more qualified. This is great because I can do it on a part-time basis and still continue working. My final exam is this December, after which I would consider continuing to focus on more specialised areas of accounting, such as accounting investigations.

How Did You Get Your Current Role? Where did you see the vacancy? 

I am currently a Supervisor, a promotion I received based on my commitment for advancing in my skills and knowledge, and through the passing of industry exams. I originally started at the firm through word of mouth - there wasn't a specific vacancy available but I met them and having my CV on file allowed the company to call me up when they needed to expand. So it helps to be aware of the industry and to try and make connections with people who can introduce you to these companies. 

[Editor's Note: If you're looking for an Accounting position in Malta, our team can put you in touch with accounting companies. Contact us to see how we can help you.]

What are your advancement options? What do you want to achieve? 

The natural next step is to become a fully qualified accountant and possibly try and obtain some auditing experience as well.  At least a full year of auditing experience is required before you can start signing off company audits, which is a position of higher responsibility I aspire to. There is also always the option of working abroad and gaining experience with a foreign company.  

What Does Your Current Role Involve? What does your day look like?

It’s quite varied but includes making sure that the accounts department runs smoothly, carrying out higher level accounts routines, including the financial control of the firm’s finances and cash flows. I supervise and manage a team of 5 people helping the audit team on any accounting problems encountered in their audit and preparing payroll for the various clients of our company. 

What does the work environment look like? Do you work in a team or on your own? Do you regularly meet clients? 

We work very closely as a team - we think that each task can be done by more than one person so that work never stops and can be done in time. i do meet with clients - most of the time because work would need to be done from their premises. Sometimes we have queries on the work that needs to be done and therefore i arrange a meeting with them to discuss any difficulties. However matters regarding the engagement of a new client and how work will be done would be discussed by the partners.

What appeals to you about Your job? What's your favourite aspect?

The variety of industries we work with. Since I am not an internal accountant but work in a firm that provides this service, we come into contact with a lot of different scenarios: one day you could be working on a hotel business and the other with a shipping and logistics company. Before I started in my current job, I had little knowledge of these industries and now like that it is a dynamic working environment that changes all the time and – if you are able to prove yourself – offers great prospects for the future

What are the career opportunities like for accountants on the Maltese Islands? 

Luckily Malta is a great place for accountants since there are loads of job opportunities and there are lots of financial services companies in Malta. With so many betting and gaming companies coming to Malta the need for accountants is increasing. The only downside to keep in mind is that the same job abroad technically pays more, but Malta makes up for it because of its reasonable level of living expenses. 

What Qualities Do You Need to Succeed? What skills, technical and non-technical, are essential to succeed? 

Due to the quality of the work needed and the information one sees the person would be need to be highly ethical and be able to keep such information confidential. I also think you need to be open-minded and be capable of seeing the whole picture. By this, I mean you need to look at information and know exactly where it fits in the client’s processes. Other traits that help include professionalism (the way you behave); confidentiality; professional competence (having the knowledge to do the job); integrity and objectivity.

Are you interested in accountant jobs? Search the latest available opportunities on our website.


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