Accountant

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Accountant

A professional who maintains financial records, notes expenses or revenue, and/or determines how much one owes or is owed. Accountants seek to assure that every individual or company pays, or is paid, the correct amount. There are several different types of accounting, each of which reports revenue and earnings differently from other methods. Two major methods accountants use are accrual accounting and cash accounting. Accrual accounting recognizes revenue and matches it with the expenses that generated that revenue. Cash accounting, on the other hand, recognizes revenue and expenses in the order in which they are received or spent.

Accountants play an important role in personal finance as well. One may hire an accountant to maintain accurate records, to ensure that enough money remains to pay one's bills. Likewise, people use accountants to pay personal or corporate taxes in the correct amount. See also: CPA, LIFO, FIFO.