A select few other occupations also provide the unique opportunity for employees to be both people and numbers people. Accountants engage with a wide range of clients, evaluate and report on a variety of data, and translate financial information into terms that the typical person can comprehend. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand the top qualities businesses seek in their accounting workers whether you already hold a degree in accountancy, are a current accounting student or are actively considering a career in accounting. These are the top ten.
How to Become an Accountant
Accounting is a field with room for no error. Not surprisingly then, employers are looking for technical skills in their accountants to ensure they have the expertise to accurately and ethically manage, analyze, and report on an organization’s or individual’s financial activities.
Top Skills of an Accountant
While there is a wide range of occupations in accounting, such as forensic accountant, financial analyst, personal finance adviser, and actuary, at a minimum, employers will be searching for these technical accounting abilities on your portfolio.
1. Knowledge of Accounting Practices
To make sure that criteria for financial reporting are satisfied and integrity in the organization’s financial processes is maintained, it is also crucial to be aware of the regulatory standards relating to corporate and public finances.
2. Proficiency in Accounting Software
Much of the accountant’s job requires utilizing common spreadsheet software and account reconciliation software. The general accountant should also be proficient in software for managing projects, database reporting, financial reporting and analysis, financial statements, and compliance. Even if you aren’t doing it yourself, you’ll probably be gathering financial data and creating paperwork for people who are. Therefore, being able to use tax software effectively might make you stand out to potential employers.
An essential accounting talent is the ability to use Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software, which is a requirement for higher-level positions like senior accountants and financial analysts.
3. Ability to Prepare Financial Statements
Perhaps considered the bread and butter of general accounting, financial statements chronicle the organization’s business activities and financial position. The three primary statements you should be able to prepare to go into a new job are income statements (profit and loss), cash flow statements, and balance sheets.
4. Knowledge of General Business Practices
To develop a useful understanding of company operations, an accounting bachelor’s degree can be combined with a specialization in Leadership and Management or followed by an MBA. It’s a good idea to major in accounting while also taking business classes. Why is this beneficial for accounting careers? Working with coworkers from other departments and clients from different sectors is practically a given. It will be easier for you to serve these internal and external clients with the specialized financial support they require if you have a foundation in business.
5. Ability to Analyze Data
An organization’s financial data is one of its greatest assets. It is essential for maintaining the continued success of the business and can help with choices in almost every aspect of operations. For this reason, gathering and analyzing unprocessed financial data is a crucial ability for accountants. The ability to extract certain information from vast amounts of data gives those who are familiar with data query language a distinct advantage while looking for work in accounting. Accounting experts may use data query skills to identify trends in firm data sets, find errors, and detect fraud.
6. Critical Thinking Skills
The capacity to grasp both the grand picture and the finer details—to see the forest for the trees—is a sign of good critical thinking. You may apply accounting principles to both recent and historical financial data to detect problems and find ethical solutions by thinking about a situation or topic from all possible aspects. Employers want to know that they can rely on you to conduct independent research, consider many approaches to an issue, and overcome obstacles using deductive reasoning.
Soft Skills Needed for Accounting
But in today’s business culture, you won’t be honing your technical abilities in a vacuum. To satisfy the demands of your business and your clients, you will also be expected to apply a number of soft skills. A few of the soft skills required in accounting are listed below.
7. Accounting Organizational Skills
Being organized is crucial for an accountant since they must manage many tasks and clients simultaneously. Maintaining orderly files and records will not only help you do your duties more quickly and accurately, but it will also show your company and clients that you are trustworthy and respectful while managing their financial information.
8. Time Management Skills
You will be a huge value to your company if you are aware of the several tasks you have on the go, are aware of the due dates for each, and prioritize your time properly. Every time you effectively and promptly satisfy your client’s requests, they will know they can rely on you, and you will feel more confident. Stay in control of your schedule by maintaining a thorough calendar, setting up recurring reminders on your phone, or creating a daily to-do list. But keep in mind to be adaptable to those last-minute demands that come your way. Just rearrange your priorities to keep on course.
9. Written and Verbal Communication Skills
There is no avoiding the fact that you will need to engage in a variety of ways with coworkers, bosses, clients, and business professionals, even if you would rather hide away from the numbers. You’ll be asked to provide briefings, produce reports, translate financial jargon for customers, interact with them, and collaborate with other team members to collect, record, and analyze data. Even crafting effective emails is a crucial skill. If this is not your strongest suit, investing time and energy in training might significantly boost your value to a potential employer.
10. Continual Learning
Whether it be in terms of rules, tax laws, software, or best practices, the accounting industry sees frequent change. Your company will see that you are proactive in keeping up with these developments and that you are a valuable resource for knowledge and abilities related to the sector. The online accounting degrees from Ottawa University provide you the skills to be a lifelong learner and the chance to advance your education by obtaining a Master of Accountancy or an MBA.
Start Your Accounting Career!
Becoming an accountant starts by earning a degree in accountancy that teaches you both the technical and soft skills you need to land a solid job. In addition to many online resources, free accounting textbooks are conveniently available.