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Difference Between Statistician & Accountant

Statisticians and accountants both work with numbers, but the type of data they analyze and the purpose for their findings can be quite different. While statisticians use a variety of information to help organizations solve problems, accountants focus on financial figures and regulations.

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Comparing Statisticians to Accountants

Although statisticians and accountants both analyze numbers and report their results in a standardized way, the type of data they work with and the reasons for their work are typically very different. Statisticians collect and interpret a wide array of information to help organizations make decisions and solve diverse problems. Accountants evaluate financial records to ensure businesses and individuals are managing their money wisely, as well as within regulatory requirements.

Job Title Educational Requirements* Median salary (2016)* Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Statistician Master's $80,500 34%
Accountant Bachelor's $49,545** 11% (accountants and auditors)

Source: *Bureau of Labor Statistics **Payscale.com

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Responsibilities of Statisticians vs. Accountants

Both statisticians and accountants work with quantitative data, but accounting is a more specialized field than statistics in general. Whereas accountants focus solely on financial figures and regulations, statisticians work with many different types of data and decisions within an organization. Statisticians may be responsible for reporting on drug efficacy, U.S. citizens' living conditions, or consumer purchasing patterns, to mention only a few possibilities. Accountants may work with an organization internally to drive excellent financial practices or contract with them externally to report required financial documents. Although their focus differs, both statisticians and accountants utilize quantitative data to help make important decisions for clients.

Statistician

Statisticians use data to help organizations make well-informed decisions. These decisions can relate to different areas within a business, such as marketing, operations, or finance, and are applied within a wide range of industries. Many statisticians work in the healthcare, research and development, and government fields, where large amounts of data are needed to make crucial decisions. The government employs statisticians for work at the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Economic Analysis, and other agencies which collect information about United States citizens' living and working conditions.

Statisticians are involved in the full cycle of collecting data and then creating recommendations based on their findings. They use specialized software and techniques to identify trends in the information collected, using caution to report with accuracy and transparency about potential errors. Because of these in-depth procedures, successful statisticians are excellent problem solvers and possess strong analytical skills. The need for statisticians is growing due to an increase in overall data from technological advancements. Internet searches, social media, and data-capturing software all contribute to the massive amounts of data businesses can use to their advantage.

  • Design data collection methods, such as surveys
  • Identify digital sources for data collection
  • Oversee data collection
  • Compile and analyze data collected using statistical methods and software
  • Report findings and prevent misinterpretation of results
  • Provide recommendations for using results

Accountant

Accountants review financial documents to make sure clients manage funds appropriately. Private accountants work directly for their clients, and their findings are used to better manage an organization's operations or an individual's affairs. Public accountants handle financial matters which must be disclosed publicly, such as a corporation's taxes and earnings. An accountant can further their career outlook by becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). All states require that accountants who file reports with the Securities and Exchange Commissions (SEC) must pass the CPA exam, which is administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Specialization in certain services or industries, such as risk management and healthcare, may also improve an accountant's career prospects.

Accountants may work long, stressful hours, especially during certain peak times. Federal tax season and the end to a business's fiscal year are particularly demanding time periods. Due to the importance of accuracy in their work, accountants should be detail-oriented and have excellent math skills.

Accountant jobs are on the rise. A growing economy as well as increased complexity in tax codes are a couple reasons why accountant jobs have a favorable outlook. Globalization of businesses is also a contributing factor to an increase in accountant demand.

  • Review financial records for accuracy and compliance
  • Prepare financial documents and report them as necessary
  • Ensure proper procedures are being used for collecting, storing, and reporting financial information
  • Make recommendations for improving financial performance

Related Careers

Related careers to statisticians and accountants involve analyzing quantitative data for clients.

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