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Generally speaking the term accountant refers to a person who is responsible for preparing and keeping the accounts of an organization. In a more specific sense it is used, with a prefix such as ‘Chief or ‘Assistant’ or ‘Cost’, to denote a post of financial responsibility in industry or commerce, e.g. the chief accountant of a business is the person appointed to control the financial running of the concern and. with his staff, to keep all books and records demanded by law or by the proprietor(s). His position is one of considerable responsibility.
The term is also used in a generic sense much as the term ‘lawyer’. Any unqualified person may set up in business as an ‘accountant’ and take in work – usually tax work. He may advertise himself as such but must not, by the use of a prefix or suffix, suggest that he is a member of a professional association.
Reference: The Penguin Business Dictionary, 3rd edt.
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