Top Accounting Skills You Need to Master
- 04 Mar 2021
- 6 minutes read
It doesn't matter whether you are running your business in the technology sector or the FMCG industry; you will require guidance from an accountant to survive in the market.
According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2024, there will 142,400 new accounting, and auditing jobs will open up with an 11% growth rate.
That's why no matter how the landscape of the market evolves or how advanced the industry becomes, some professions such as "Accounting" will never lose their value.
Having a set of well-honed skills can help you stand out from the rate race and find success in this in-demand field.
From keeping the day-to-day records to guide in major decisions, a modern era accountant plays many roles in a business's growth journey.
So, if you have decided to choose the accounting carrier, then it becomes necessary to know the top accounting skills you will need to master in this field.
But do you really have any idea which accounting skills you will need to fulfil the demand of the various industries without any hitches?
In this blog post, we will have a look at the top accounting skills you need to master.
This blog post is divided into the following sections
- Must be numeric Ninjas
- Up to date with tech
- Analytical skills
- Excellent communication
- Financial skill
- Business knowledge
- Adaptability & detail orientation
- Big picture knowledge
Must be numeric Ninjas
The most basic skill in an accounting career is the numerical one.
With number-crunching skills, accountants can understand and analyze numeric information of an organization and draw a meaningful conclusion to make the right decision.
Accountants must be well versed with the numbers in order to connect figures in the income statement to the cash flow or to the balance sheet, for example:
Some of the main numerical skills include calculation skills, understanding relationships between numbers, data analysis, logical thinking etc.
Up to date with tech
Nowadays, accounting is more technology-driven, and accountants need to stay up to date with their knowledge.
With high tech advancements in finance software, cloud computing, and automated programs, accountants must work with the latest technologies to make accounting function more efficient and effective for their clients.
Basically, accountants must be computer-savvy and comfortable with tech, as most organizations prefer to use a variety of accounting software to manage their tasks.
An accountant might be expected to have a solid background in applications such as,
- Accounting software (e.g. QuickBooks, Sage, Xero etc.)
- Data capture tools (HUBDOC, ReceiptBank, AutoEntry, etc.)
- Third-party apps integration with accounting software, like Slack, Asana, CRM, invoicing software, etc.
- Advanced Excel
- Data modelling programs
- Enterprise resource planning (ERP)
- Big data analysis
In short, the more finance and accounting programs you are familiar with, the better.
With the ability to use financial data effectively, interpreting and analyzing those data are also important skills for an accountant.
It helps identify problems within and challenges facing a business and its accounting framework, which can be useful to develop an effective solution to address them.
For an accountant, not just critical thinking, but an understanding of the relevance of accounting data to all aspect of the overall health of a business is important.
This can also include risk analysis as accountants can be tasked with assessing the factors that may threaten a project's success, both in the overall business context and specific situations, such as expansion, acquisition of a new site.
Being a professional accountant is not just what you know.
As an accountant, it is not only about crunching the numbers, but you will need to be able to explain the "Why" factor hidden behind the number to a non-financial person.
You will be working with key decision-makers and business owners, all of whom are not well-versed in the technical accounting jargon. A good accountant makes numbers speak plain simple English so that everyone can understand.
This can include all sorts of communication methods on a daily basis as an accountant could spend their day responding to texts, answering emails, giving presentations etc.
All these tasks need quick, clear and professional communication.
An accountant should perform tasks such as preparing, analyzing, and interpreting financial information in a way that shows the art and science of accounting.
In order to ensure sound financial data and reduce risk, accountants may also be required to use an organization's accounting system.
In addition, accountants must be able to assess the ethics of financial decisions comfortably and should be careful in their reporting.
Accountants are the go-to experts in the organization; that's why they must be able to research, synthesize, evaluate and communicate the financial information to the non-accounting people in a logical, clear and professional way.
Organizational skills and abilities are the most important for an accounting carrier.
Accountants work with a range of clients and manage their documents separately. So, everything must add up exactly on the bottom line, and you'll need to keep track of a large amount of data.
Here a great organizational skill plays a vital role when it comes to managing a bunch of important documents in such a way so that it can be easily found to maximize productivity.
Best organizational skills are definitely a cornerstone of good accounting.
Great organizational skills can help in,
- Asset management
- Business awareness
- Corporate reports
- Credit management
- Finance management
Being a good leader not only requires good communication skills.
Having strong leadership skills is more about long term planning, strategic thinking making oneself approachable and having the ability to mentor others.
It's crucial for accounting professionals to be able to deal with challenging business situations.
Because as an accountant, you will act as a consulting partner to your clients and the skill to look ahead and help your clients in order to improve their business growth can be a real dealmaker.
The skill to make logical decisions with a spark of leadership can make an accountant stand out from the crowd.
And to be a successful accountant, you will need to prove your worth by helping your clients not only today but also forward-looking towards future goals.
Just like all other skills, business awareness is also the most crucial skill for an accountant.
Basically, this means that you should be well aware of economic and market events that positively or negatively impact the business profile-both.
Also, Accountants needs to interact frequently with other departments and clients fully in the business's daily functioning.
This economic, social and political awareness can help you plan ahead of your time and master your craft that can eventually be the launchpad for the growth of a business.
For example, an accountant in a Tech company should be well aware of governmental regulations, upcoming market trends etc., in order to better decision making and budget planning.
Adaptability & detail orientation
As the saying goes, "Embrace change as change is the only constant". This actually fits accountants so well.
Accountants need to be more adaptable by keeping up with the trends, making future plans and planning ahead.
Generally, people might feel stressed when they face unexpected challenges, but the ability to adapt and determine alternative options helps the accountants cope with change.
As the accounting profession is continuously evolving with time, great adaptability is another attribute that can make male your life a little easier.
There are new accounting standards, new state and federal laws and ever-changing technology.
And if you can adapt to change quickly, then congratulations! You are at a distinct advantage.
Also, adaptable means with time, you will need to unlearn some old day tricks and learn something fresh and on-trend in order to stay on top of the competition.
They say the devil is in the details, and this fits perfect when it comes to accounting.
Every day, accountants have to deal with information that they must analyze, understand, inspect and interpret, and that's why an eye for small details is an essential tool in the accountant's arsenal.
An accountant must be resilient enough in order to work with tight deadlines and juggle multiple clients while maintaining a positive look towards the work.
This is the skill to keep a cool head on your shoulder that will easily take you through these challenges.
Accountants need to be comfortable with a busy work schedule and tight deadlines, such as month-end close.
The most successful accountant easily multi-task and shift priorities when necessary.
Big picture knowledge
In today's fast-moving and technology-driven world, organizations hire an accountant who can understand their challenges, objectives, and big picture.
This typically can help in the progress of a broader sense of an organization's business.
Accountants have to understand why they are doing something and how the impact would be on the others within the organization.
In short, the need for these top accounting skills highlights the fact of how well the accounting career is becoming vast. Plus, accounting professions are in high demand and expanding more with time. For this increasingly popular field, having the right credentials beyond work experience is a good way to make yourself stand out from the crowd and a competitive candidate for jobs and promotions going forward. However, top accounting skills, coupled with suitable qualifications and knowledge, are the recipe for a successful accounting career.