If you like math, have a knack for problem-solving, and count organization as one of your strengths, you might be an accountant. And you’re in a good labor market – accountancy pays better-than-average wages and has a positive outlook in terms of job availability, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
So, what skills are employers looking for in an accountant? As we said earlier, accounting leans on mathematics, but it also requires expertise with software specifically designed for accounting. Accountants must also have next-level organization skills and a thorough knowledge of relevant laws and regulations. Plus, they must have a number of general professional skills, or “soft skills,” to succeed.
Here’s a breakdown of the most sought-after skills in accountancy.
Accounting professionals must have the ability to interpret numbers and use them to solve problems. For example, accountants might be given the directive to file a client’s taxes to get the best possible return. They may be asked to wear a detective hat to find instances of misappropriation or even embezzlement. In short, no matter which specialty you pursue in the field of accountancy, having a talent for analysis is critical.
Accountants must be able to communicate with multiple audiences in a variety of channels. Not only do they have to handle day-to-day communications in person, via email, or over the phone, but they frequently are called on to give presentations. And making presentations that involve translating complex mathematical ideas into accessible, actionable language takes a special communicator.
Attention to Detail
“Little things mean a lot,” and a lot of accounting is about paying attention to the little details. Often, accountants find themselves wading, slogging through a lot of numbers to spot critical bits of data that could take a project or investigation in an entirely different direction.
Familiarity with Computer Systems and Software
Accountants lean on a variety of computer programs and systems to help them get the job done. Depending on their role, accountants might need command of financial software like QuickBooks, advanced Excel skills, or data modeling programs like Domo and Infer.
Like other office jobs, accountancy depends on organizational skills. Accountants – particularly bookkeepers – need to manage a range of documents. And they need to be able to keep documents in order, especially if they have a large number of clients.
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