What do International Accountants do?

Jill Gonzalez

International accountants work in the same areas of accounting as other professionals in this field. The primary difference is that, in most cases, international accountants need to be familiar with certain accounting practices that are used in other countries. This is particularly useful when working with corporations that have different locations throughout the world.

International accountants are required to be familiar with the accounting practices of other countries.
International accountants are required to be familiar with the accounting practices of other countries.

While more colleges are now offering courses related to international accounting, the degrees that people earn in this field are still primarily the same. International accounting professionals may be general accountants or may specialize in a number of different areas. Specialization often puts candidates in a position of having better job opportunities simply because they tend to have more education or experience in certain areas. Some colleges may offer students the opportunity to obtain a concentration or a minor in international accounting.

Currently, there is much debate about a potential worldwide change to international accounting laws, as dictated by the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). Accounting professionals who are familiar with IFRS standards may have an advantage when looking for jobs. If this change does occur, it would likely mean that many companies throughout the world would have to provide additional education for accountants in their employ. It should be noted that compliance with this organization is not a requirement for specific countries.

For the time being, international accountants are, for the most part, familiar with the legal regulations and standards of the countries that they conduct business with. Understanding tax laws in foreign countries can be extremely beneficial to employers, so candidates with these advanced skills generally earn higher salaries. It is also usually important for professionals in this field to have a solid understanding of exchange rates, wage rates, and consumer taxation.

Due to the nature of international business in general, accountants who speak at least one additional language may also be in high demand. In some accounting positions, candidates are required to have knowledge of international auditing procedures as well as managerial accounting principles. Financial analysts who are well versed at various processes of international businesses may also find it easier to land jobs that pay well.

Extensive travel is sometimes a requirement with these jobs. Depending on the type of company that a person is employed by, travel requirements are likely to be international, given the nature of the job. Many positions for international accountants offer candidates healthy bonuses for their experience, education, and willingness to travel.

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