All accountants are in the business of producing quality financial information. However, specific accounting performance objectives differ depending on the exact line of accounting work. Reach out to your local CPA society if you're struggling with performance objectives. They'll have professionals from all accounting fields who are knowledgeable about specific job roles.

Tax Accountants

Tax accountants ensure client tax returns are completed in an accurate and timely fashion. The key performance objective for tax accountants is to prepare as many returns as possible. To achieve this objective, tax accountants should be comfortable with time-saving techniques when preparing tax returns, such as software hot keys. Another key objective in tax accounting is to find as many credits and deductions as possible for the client. There are few aspects that differentiate tax accountants, so tax savings is a large factor in client retention.


Auditors provide assurance to various stakeholders that client financial statements are prepared according to a designated accounting framework. The main performance objective in auditing is to test enough evidence to be able to detect any accounting misstatements. To achieve this objective, auditors work carefully to customize an audit work plan. Auditors will assess the various risk factors of the client to ensure they are testing evidence in the appropriate places.

Managerial Accountants

Managerial accountants focus on providing cost information to management to facilitate decision making. The key performance objective for managerial accountants is to correctly identify the costs and profitability of various company products and projects. There's no "one size fits all" method to cost accounting. If an accountant isn't careful, he can assign costs to products and services that really shouldn't absorb them. To avoid this pitfall, managerial accountants must design and maintain an indirect cost accounting system that adjusts in relation to the company's operations.

Financial Accountants

The key performance objective for financial accountants is to record all financial transactions according to the right accounting framework. This may sound like a straightforward task, but it can be quite complex. Accounting guidance changes frequently, and accountants must keep up to date with any pronouncements from the appropriate accounting board. Many transactions are routine, but there may not be any clear guidance on unique financial transactions. In this case, financial accountants consider philosophical accounting principles and conduct extensive research to decide on an appropriate method.