Crunching numbers - The accountant at work - Albert Ziem

BY: By Selina Osei
Mr Albert Kungmaa Ziem, a Chartered Accountant
Mr Albert Kungmaa Ziem, a Chartered Accountant

Mr Albert Kungmaa Ziem is a chartered accountant. He is currently the management accountant at the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL), a tax practitioner as well as a lawyer.  Mr Ziem gives fascinating insights into the world of accountants.

Who is an accountant?
An accountant is a person who has gone through the training of a professional body and demonstrated competency through their professional association's certification examinations. Passing the examination makes the person a qualified accountant and he or she is
certified to use titles such as Chartered Accountant, Chartered Certified Accountant, Certified Public Accountant or Registered Public Accountant.

Such professionals are granted certain responsibilities by statute (a law that has been formally approved and written down), such as the ability to certify an organisation's financial statements, and can be held responsible for professional misconduct.

People perceive that accountants handle cash, but that is not the case. Accountants rarely see or handle cash. Accountants rather direct and manage the resources of the company. There are institutes in Ghana such as the Institute of Chartered Accountants
Ghana, CIMA Ghana and Institute of Accountancy Training where people are trained to become certified accountants.

Work of an accountant
The duties of an accountant varies and it depends on the institution where he or she practises. They can be financial accountants, cost accountants, management accountants or auditors.

Our personality is a management accountant. His duty is to manage the cost of the company and keep track of a company's income and expenses.

He records and crunches numbers, helps to choose and manages the company investments, risk management, budget, plan, strategise and makes financial decisions for the workers and the company as a whole.

Mr Ziem noted that, "If we are to produce a paper for a client or a company, I evaluate our input and a good price is quoted so that it will not run the company down. I also evaluate the labour cost of producing the quantity needed by the

"I sometimes check the finances of the company, its commitment and needs to make sure the loans taken by the workers have been duly paid," he added.

Requirements needed to be an accountant
According to Mr. Ziem, accounting is logical reasoning. It does not necessarily mean one should be mathematically inclined before he or she becomes an accountant. It is all about critical thinking and logical reasoning. As far as one could reason logically and think critically, he or she can become an accountant in any field.

"Everybody is an accountant. When your parents give you money for school, you plan how to use the money judiciously. When you go home and your parents ask you what you used your money for, you tell them how you used it by accounting
for it?' he added.

Making decisions
"As an accountant you are to serve the interest of the company as well as the interest of the staff. There are some cases where you need to balance the two and take a serious decision. When you look at the case and you are in doubt and the benefit goes to the employee, you have to give it to the employee and vice versa.

The problem comes when there is a balance and the benefit goes to both the company and the staff; then you have to use logical reasoning to make a decision," he noted.

Routine day
Mr Ziem stated, "As a management accountant, I help the company and our clients make better business decisions by keeping them up to date with the figures on a regular basis?

"I also use my financial knowledge and skill to help the company set its budget, forecast its future earnings, reduce its costs and manage its investments and I do this by preparing reports, contribute to meetings and deliver presentations," he added.