An accountant is a practitioner of accountancy, which is the measurement, disclosure or provision of assurance about financial information that helps managers, investors, tax authorities and other decision makers make resource allocation decisions.
In many countries the designation accountant, or at least the more specific terms qualified accountant or professional accountant, is a certified accountancy and financial expert. Like other legally restricted professions including doctors and lawyers, different countries have their own training and examination systems to maintain the quality of qualified accountants in their jurisdictions. There are many professional bodies for accountants throughout the world.
Accountants originally worked only in public practice, i.e. professional accountancy firms, selling advice and services to other individuals and businesses. Today, in addition, many work within private corporations, the financial industry and various government bodies.