Although working with financial data is one of the crucial parts of an accountant, accounting is not all about numbers. Having developed several accounting skills will better indicate to your employer how prepared you are for your position and how willing you are to work with your colleagues.
Top Accounting Skills
A degree in Finance and Accounting will open doors to career opportunities, but for you to succeed as an accountant there are some technical skills you need to develop. So, let’s look at some of the top accounting skills that every accountant needs to have in order to advance in their career. These skills will add value to your resume, make you complete as a professional, and help you advance your career even further.
Let’s begin with commercial awareness, an essential skill that accounting and financial management recruiters look for in their potential employees. Commercial awareness means knowing where your business fits in the market, having knowledge of the company you work in and how it makes money, your employer, and their competitors. Moreover, it means being aware of customers’ expectations from your company and, most importantly, what are the outside factors that can affect your business and th company you are working for.
Accountants gather, process, and store sensitive data to identify potential risks and analyze them. Then they work towards making sure those risks do not affect the company. One of the advantages of developing this skill is reducing risk inside the business.
Accountants need system analysis skills to provide the company with valuable information so the office can run more efficiently. The accounting systems keep track of all the transactions made, among other business activities.
An accountant should be able to work with system analysis to access all the financial statements and records that are prepared, examined, and stored in the systems. They also use these systems to ensure the company is running smoothly and keep track of taxes.
Mathematical & deductive reasoning
To succeed as an accountant, you need to understand certain mathematical functions, such as adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, and working with decimals, fractions, and percentages.
Since, in many cases, accountants have to deal with complex problems that include missing or incorrect information, another skill necessary for success is deductive reasoning. With this skill, you will be able to identify errors and come up with conclusions based on premises that are generally true most of the time.
Critical thinking is yet another crucial soft skill, which helps accountants among their daily tasks think beyond numbers and make sense of the spreadsheets and financial statements they deal with. This skill comes in handy in spotting specific trends or anomalies. Moreover, through critical thinking, they will be able to think deeply and create new strategies or find creative solutions to any problem the business faces.
Time management and organizational skill
You’ve heard the saying “time is money” and, indeed, accountants must learn to handle time well. It is not uncommon for accountants to be working on more than one project at a time, especially during tax seasons. In such cases, they must manage their time wisely to meet the deadlines and get exceptional results.
Organizational skills are another helpful trait in the accounting business. Accountants must have a system to keep track of the financial statements and transactions they manage and any critical dates or deadlines they have to meet. They must juggle all their responsibilities and ensure they fulfill all their duties to their best ability.
Innovation & initiative
An accountant’s innovation skills in the workplace are more than just finding new ways to approach things. This skill enables accountants to use their knowledge, competence, and creativity to the fullest extent while adding value to their work.
Studies have shown that innovation in the workplace dramatically influences the company’s financial performance and profitability, among other things. By being innovative, companies can produce at lower costs while earning more.
On the other hand, you need to be an initiator to bring any innovation to your workplace. Being initiative is a skill that represents the ability to understand your duties and responsibilities. Think of it from the employer’s perspective. Having an accountant who does not need to be told what they need to do constantly but instead understands the purpose of the position is a valuable asset.
It is no surprise that companies are determined to find people who have developed this skill because it means they can trust them to do whatever is necessary.
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Credibility & Integrity
Credibility and integrity are two skills required for accounting. Integrity can come in many forms, but as a team member, you are generally deemed dependable, honest, and loyal by others. As an accountant, it is essential to take responsibility, be honest, and be committed to your work.
One thing is sure, you cannot reach credibility and integrity overnight. You can build these skills by constantly putting in the effort, being patient, respectful, and consistent with your job and the people who surround you.
From tax law changes to problems in cash flow, accountants face many challenges in their work daily. That is why they need to be resilient and not give up.
Resilience is the person’s ability to exercise determination and persistence even when times get rough. Resilience is a life skill before being a work skill, and it ensures people do what is most important regardless of circumstances.
Although as an accountant, you will spend a good portion of your time sitting in front of a computer crunching numbers, once that step is over, you will have to communicate the results to your colleagues or supervisors, be that verbally or in the written form. That is why verbal and written communication skills are necessary.
Accountants should be skilled in writing various written statements and reports, ranging from letters of instruction to complex financial reports. They must also explain financial terms and issues in simple words for the customers to understand.
Instructing and mentorship
Having instructing and mentorship skills is crucial for individuals in any field. Having the ability to help others grasp accounting terms and concepts quickly, give them advice related to finances, and contribute to others’ development shows your understanding of the field.
While you interact with people you advise or mentor, you also practice other skills such as patience and communication.
To succeed in the accounting profession, you need both soft and hard skills. With that in mind, we tried to list the top accounting skills that we deemed most valuable in your career
No matter if you are a young professional or a senior in this career, use the list of skills we have compiled to develop your professional capability and capacity, so you can set your feet on solid ground and progress your career as an accountant. Focus on these skills and you will prove yourself as an invaluable asset to your company and beyond.