Accounting is a very broad term. It encompasses several different accounting services. These accounting services will be required by different firms depending on their sizes and industries. For instance, large multinational firms will consume more services than small or medium sized firms. It is important to note that not all accountancy firms will provide all the accounting services. Some firms will specialize in certain areas such as taxation or forensic accountants. Firms that provide a wide range of services are referred to as full service accounting firms. Examples of full service accounting firms are the Big 4 (Ernst & Young, PriceWaterhouse, KPMG and Deloitte).
- Bookkeeping services – This is the most basic of the accounting services. Most accounting firms will offer bookkeeping services to their clients. The services offered include the maintenance of accounting books and tax reporting. Most small firms will hire an accounting firm to carry out their bookkeeping instead of having an in-house accounting department.
- Auditing services – Publicly traded companies are required by law to have their financial statements audited by a certified public accountant. Auditing of the books is for purposes of ensuring that the financial statements have been prepared in accordance with financial accounting principles. The auditors are then required to give their opinion on the financial health of the company. The audit process is meant to protect investors and prospective investors.
- Tax services – This is also a very common accounting service sought by businesses. It entails the preparation of tax returns. The tax accountant providing tax services will also ensure that financial statements are prepared in such a way as to comply with the state’s tax requirements. The tax services offered by the accountancy firm may stretch to include representing clients during an IRS audit.
- Risk Management services – These services are offered to ensure that a company has good internal controls in their accounting function. An internal audit may be carried out to determine this. Risk management services will also be offered on a consultancy basis.
- Payroll services – These services are mostly provided by full service accounting firms. However, there are some firms that will specialize in offering these services. The services offered will include maintaining of employee salary information, printing pay slips and mailing them and the preparation of quarterly and annual payroll tax returns.
- Business development services – The accountancy firm will help their client identify new markets or clients, identify gaps in their business, training and mentoring.