Believe you me, Accounting is an extremely in-demand profession right now. There are a plethora of opportunities available for entry-level and experienced professionals in the field of accounting. But as the world of business evolves, so is the accounting profession. And, if you want to land the role of your choice and achieve success, then you must acquire the most sought-after accounting skills. These skills are not just acing number crunching, but a combination of both technical knowledge and soft skills. Here are the top nine accounting skills that will help you to stand out as an resource:
- Numerical Skill
- Eye for Detail
- Time Management and Organisational Skill
- Computer Skill
- Communication Skill
- Business Awareness
- Resilience and Adaptability
1. Numerical Skill
Number skills are the most basic requirements for a career in accounting. These number-crunching skills are built around basic mathematical skills. You can demonstrate your ability to understand and analyze numerical information and draw meaningful conclusions in order to arrive at the right decision. As an accountant, you will be engaged in preparing various financial reports. You should be well versed with numbers so that you are able to connect the figures in the income statement to that of the cash flow or to the balance sheet.
For instance, a depreciation in the income statement should add up to the accumulated depreciation in the balance sheet. However, there may be some variance due to the sale or disposal of assets. But, as an accountant, you should be able to figure that out. As such, some of the major numerical skills include understanding relationships between numbers, calculation skills, logical thinking, ability to organize information, data analysis, etc.
2. Eye for Detail
Paying attention to detail is one of the most crucial accounting skills. As an accountant, you will be responsible to keep track of tasks and ensure their accomplishment by limiting the possible shortcomings. Any error in financial reporting can end up becoming the reason for monetary penalties and stained reputation in the business world. Hence, even the smallest of the errors shouldn’t escape your eyes.
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3. Time Management and Organisational Skill
As an accountant, you must be ready to channel your inner Durga, because you’ll be needing those ten arms soon. Accountants are required to manage various responsibilities, which results in a lot of activities being accommodated in a tight schedule. Hence, efficiently tracking these responsibilities becomes imperative. Such responsibilities can include portfolio management, transaction handling and meeting important deadlines. Conductive these well will earn you brownie points with your colleagues showing organization and reliance on your part.
Time management goes hand-in-hand with organizational requirements. A seasoned professional will manage the workload effectively by re-prioritizing competing tasks and juggling between myriad responsibilities to ensure timely completion of everything.
Let me tell you a little story. A friend of mine is in the accounting department of a mining company. He is associated with budget preparation and continuous monitoring of the actual cost. For him, it is very important that he adheres to the timeline of presenting the variance analysis (actual cost vis-à-vis the budget plans) for the previous month within the first week of the following month. So, he makes sure that all the information is available to him within the first 3 days of the following month so that he can prepare the report within the timeline.
Prioritizing and task setting are very crucial in your role as an accountant.
4. Computer Skill
Computer skills could become your greatest ally given the volume of information you’ll need to process on a regular basis. In the field of accounting, computer skills include decent working knowledge of different types of accounting software, besides the basic computing abilities for excel and word. In fact, present-day accountants are required to use a wide array of accounting tools like timekeeping software, payroll software, resource management software, etc. Some of the examples of in-demand accounting tools include:
- Advanced excel and modeling techniques
- ERP tools such as SAP, Oracle, etc.
- Big data analytics and query languages (eg: SQL)
- Microsoft visual basic
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5. Communication Skill
A big part of the accounting responsibilities includes writing reports and presenting them to senior management. Some of the other major interactions are with other accountants, financial managers and other stakeholders of the company. As such, as an accountant, you are expected to be a good orator and narrator to communicate your ideas effectively. In fact, if you chose to become an auditor, then you should be able to communicate your findings in simple and yet legally convoluted jargon.
6. Business Awareness
It should be at the top of your table of skills required to be a successful accountant. While all other technical skills and soft skills are necessary, the need for business awareness is crucial. It essentially means that you should have the knowledge pertaining to the business profile and be well aware of the economic events taking place that can impact the business either directly or indirectly. Knowledge of economic, social and political movements will help you in thinking ahead of your time and evolve to master your craft, which can eventually be the launchpad for your career.
For instance, an accounting manager in a mining company should be aware of the governmental regulations pertaining to environmental clearance, mining permits, etc. Ability to understand the upcoming market trends can help in budget planning or other decision making instances.
As an accountant, you will have certain fiduciary responsibilities to the shareholders and pecuniary information about the company – which puts higher stakes on your integrity. An accountant of questionable integrity can be a major risk to the company. Hence, there are several ethical standards an accountant must adhere to. You must understand that the public, businesses and the government trusts the accountants to look out for the beneficiaries’ best interests. As an accountant, you should be transparent in your decision making as it improves your working relationships with your team and fosters an environment of respect and collaboration.
8. Resilience and Adaptability
Getting thrilled by the exciting career prospects of an accountant? You should also be ready to put in the extra effort that goes into forging this fruitful career. As an accountant, you will start your career at the entry-level and then work your way up the ladder, which is not always going to be easy. Working with tight deadlines and managing multiple clients’ needs while maintaining a positive attitude towards your work, should be ingrained in your psyche. The ability to keep a cool head will help you glide through these challenges like butter on bread.
Another attribute that can make your life a little easier is the ability to adapt to the job requirement. Evolving with the constantly evolving accounting industry will give you an indiscriminate edge. Additionally, being adaptable would mean the ability to unlearn old tricks and learn the new tricks of the trade, to excel limitlessly. The best mantra is to embrace change, as change is the only constant.
Last but not least is the quality to be a good leader, which means that you know how to mentor your team and make yourself approachable.
Lastly, the quality to be a good leader is evergreen. This means you must mentor your team and make yourself approachable. Although you may require it at a later stage of your career, people with strong leadership skills always draw the attention of senior management. In accounting, leadership skills can be demonstrated through strategic thinking and long-term planning. Some profiles may require you to provide consulting services to your clients. What can be a dealmaker here is your ability to look ahead and help the clients improve their operations. The best accountants in the business are usually known for their vision – the ability to make logical decisions with a tinge of creativity. Pro tip: to be recognized as a successful accountant, you have to prove your worth to your clients by helping them not only improve their present but also their future.
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So, the need for these nine skills highlights the fact that how well the accounting career is becoming big. Nevertheless, good accounting skills and co
We hope that was helpful. The need for these nine skills highlights the enormity of a career in accounting and its growing industry. Good accounting skills and competencies coupled with the right qualifications and knowledge is the recipe for a successful career in accounting.
If you’re looking to build a meaningful career as an accountant, starting off on the right foot is imperative. Talk to our Financial Accounting Experts at Proschool, and get started on the right path. Fill out this short form, and we’ll get in touch.
Until then, happy number crunching.