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Accounting is a career which is always in demand both in Sri Lanka and overseas. Whether an organisation is profit oriented or charity oriented, it requires accountants to keep track of their accounts and finance. Blue-chip companies, state corporations, accounting firms, computer companies, the education sector, the healthcare sector, and every single state entity or business entity in the country needs accountants to run their finances.

What is accounting and why is it important for businesses in Sri Lanka

At the most basic level, the definition of accounting is ‘the act of collecting, organising, and interpreting financial data. Not only for businesses in Sri Lanka, but also for anywhere in the world, accountants do the three things mentioned in the above statements. They present these data in the form of financial statements so that different stakeholders of the organisation can get a clear understanding of the financial status of the company. We are sure you will agree that without knowing how much one has earnt and how much one has spent there is no way for a company to know how much money they have made in their course of business.

How can you become an accountant in Sri Lanka?

If you have studied for a bachelor’s degree in business majoring in accounts, there is a good chance that you can get yourself a good accounting job in Sri Lanka. However, to become an accountant, one need not necessarily have a degree in accounting.

There are many professional accounting bodies in Sri Lanka (Both local and international) which certify discerning students to become accountants. To earn these certifications, you need to pass certain examinations set by these institutions.

The Association of Accounting Technicians of Sri Lanka (AAT), can be a stepping stone for those who want to begin their accounting careers in Sri Lanka from the very onset. There are also other avenues open for you if you are willing to spend a little more.

For instance, for those would like to become a management accountant, the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) UK offer many certifications and membership. Bear in mind however that while hundreds of thousands of students sit for CIMA examinations each year, only the hardest working get through the final stage. Further, to become a member, one must obtain mandatory work experience. The equivalent management accounting qualification in Sri Lanka for the CIMA is the Institute of Certified Management Accountants of Sri Lanka (CMA).

There are different certifications and memberships open to financial accountants. The most popular of these being the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA) UK, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (ICASL), and the Chartered Financial Analyst Institute (CFA).

Different accounting disciplines in Sri Lanka

Even though we say Sri Lanka, there are only two disciplines of accounting in the world. They are financial accounting and management accounting. Those who want to be either a management accountant or a financial accountant follow different career paths. Those who have mastered both are colloquially known as double-accountants in Sri Lanka.

Financial accounting as a discipline has more to do with the collection of data and the preparation of financial statements. On the other hand, management accounting focuses more on providing internal information to the management of the company so that it is run smoothly.

Types of accounting jobs in Sri Lanka

Accounting run likes a vein from the most basic level to the top jobs of an organisation. For making it easier for you to find a job, we have included bookkeeping jobs alongside accounting jobs. Bookkeeping differs from accounting by being the function that records financial transactions, as opposed to accounting which would then interpret those recorded data.

Bookkeeping clerks, bookkeepers, accounting assistants, payroll clerks, and account trainees are some of the entry level accountings jobs you can find in Sri Lanka. It is not unusual for many to join the accounting profession by applying for accounting vacancies at big accounting firms such as KPMG, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, and Ernst and Young. While these firms are known to employ thousands of new accountants, the jobs themselves go at the most basic of salaries. These jobs are best for those still pursuing their accounting studies and are looking to get the mandatory work experience in an accounting firm to get qualified as accountants. Another option for new accountants is joining small, local accounting firms and tax firms.

These start-up level accounting jobs are only a fraction of job vacancies available for accountants. They are then followed up by jobs for accountants and accounting related jobs in the accounting or finance departments in any company or organisation. Because it is accountants who go on to become finance professionals, everyone in the finance department of a company can also be considered having accounting jobs in Sri Lanka. This can easily apply to banking and finance jobs in Sri Lanka as well.

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