In many industries, employees must work their way up the career ladder, earning additional credentials and responsibilities as they go. The accounting world is no exception; many accountants use a class system that starts at level I and moves up to level IV. Hospitals are one such employer that hires accountants at all levels to help organize its finances. As a hospital accountant III, you’ll oversee a hospital’s budget and help keep the bottom line in the black.
What it Takes
At level III, a hospital accountant needs at minimum an associate degree in finance or accounting, with most employers preferring a bachelor’s degree in finance or accounting, according to Eduers.com. If you hold a master’s degree and certification as a certified public accountant, you’ll have a big leg up on the competition when securing a position. You should also have some professional experience, typically one to five years, in the accounting industry and any health care experience is a plus. Beyond formal schooling, some employers offer comprehensive on-the-job training that covers the basics of that hospital’s financial systems.
Skills You'll Need
General skills needed to be successful as a hospital accountant include basic computer skills, proficiency in Microsoft Excel and the ability to communicate orally, as well as on paper, with team members, medical personnel and outside clients. According to the Natividad Medical Center, you should be well-versed in accounting concepts like generally accepted accounting principals, other comprehensive basis of accounting and financial accounting standards. Other skills include a keen eye for detail, the ability to problem solve, and working well in a team setting but also being self-motivated and able to meet deadlines on your own.
Similar to other accountants, as a hospital accountant, your main job duties will center around preparing financial documents, collecting data for monthly journal entries and prepping yearly statements, according to My Majors. You’ll check those documents for errors and omissions and work to fix any issues found in the hospital’s financial statements. At the end of each month, you’ll make sure that the books balance and the hospital’s outstanding debts are paid. Hospital accountants manage the financial departments of the hospital, overseeing accounts receivable, accounts payable and payroll departments, as well as lower-level accountants and accounting clerks.
Working with management, you’ll help develop a budget and perform an analysis of the hospital’s financial situation. Other duties include approving expense accounts, putting together the hospital’s payroll tax returns and submitting all tax documents each April, according to St. Rose Hospital. As the hospital accountant, you’ll not only take care of the financial documents for the entire hospital, but may also oversee the financials for individual departments within that medical center. The hospital may assign special assignments from time to time for the accountant, like fundraising, staffing and other hospital projects.
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