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    10 Surprising Skills Every Accountant Needs to Succeed
    The Vault

    10 Surprising Skills Every Accountant Needs to Succeed

    May 2024

    Accounting is integral to organizations of all shapes and sizes, and accounting duties vary widely based on the client and their needs. 

    Accountants specialize in different areas based on their job position, so we can’t always recommend specific hard or technical skills. A tax accountant, for example, prepares legal documents, while a managerial accountant prepares company budgets and financial statements.

    However, there are a few common skills accountants need regardless of their field.

    Curious as to what skills they are? We'll lay them all out for you below.

    1. Interpersonal

    Accountants regularly work in teams and with clients. As a result, they must work well with others and communicate effectively, too.

    They team up with other accountants in their organizations and co-workers from other departments. Additionally, they consult with clients outside the company. Their success and productivity depends on their ability to cooperate and collaborate with everyone.

    Most clients and co-workers outside the accounting department will have limited knowledge of accounting practices and terminology. They'll need the accountant to communicate information in a way they easily understand.

    2. Persuasion

    Not only must accountants clearly communicate ideas to their audience (bosses, co-workers, and clients), but they’ll also need to inspire them to action at times. The best way to do this is to learn how to effectively persuade people.

    Getting the Finance Officer’s buy-in on a new idea, project, or investment takes persuasion. Getting clients to carry out the accountant’s short- and long-term financial plans for them does, too. Accountants must learn how to motivate others to take action.

    3. Organization

    Accountants juggle data from multiple sources and work against deadlines. They must adhere to reporting requirements and stay updated on changes in regulations and best practices.

    Without strong organizational skills, an accountant can get overrun with data and paperwork. Important client information can get lost or confused with another clients.

    Aspiring accountants should enter the job market with good organizational skills. Those needing improvement can practice organizing their homes and other aspects of their lives.

    4. Analytical

    Automation takes care of many menial tasks accountants once did, like data entry and reconciling. Accountants have gained more time to engage in more meaningful tasks. One of those critical tasks is analyzing data.

    Analyzation skills involve breaking down complex information into easy-to-understand parts. It dives underneath surface data to determine underlying structures.

    Accountants must check data and reports for accuracy. Does the data add up? Is it current? Is it complete?

    5. Critical Thinking

    Consider critical thinking to be a close relative of analytical skills. Critical thinking involves evaluating information and making judgment calls based on what’s found.

    Accountants must look beyond today’s client data to project what it means for their future. They’ll help clients forecast future gains and losses, successes and problems, risks and rewards by looking at data from various angles. They’ll make recommendations based on the data and their expertise.

    6. Flexibility and Adaptability

    The accounting world is ever-evolving. New ideas and technologies lead to advanced and unfamiliar trends and regulations. Accountants must quickly adapt to demands from clients and updated industry regulations. They'll need flexibility in handling a multitude of clients, projects, and needs.

    7. Time Management

    Accountants are busy, so time management is vital. They'll need to multitask to meet client needs and deadlines. They'll consult with executives, co-workers, and clients in addition to keeping up with their continuing education credits. For some, certain parts of the year are busier than others, like yearly tax time or fiscal year-end.

    8. Industry Expertise

    Accounting can be specific to an industry. For example, accounting for real estate companiesinvolves different practices than accounting in the construction industry.

    The more specialized an accountant's skills, the greater their depth of knowledge on the subject. Those specializing in a specific industry provide greater value and insight to their clients in that industry.

    9. Customer Service

    Accountants work very closely with the clients they serve. They'll need to be responsive to their customer's requests and needs, sometimes anticipating them before the client realizes them.

    They'll need a pleasant bedside manner, too. Accountants need to project confidence and trust in their capabilities. They'll need to deliver positive and negative news with finesse.

    10. Integrity and Ethics

    An accountant's actions affect people in and outside of the company. Accountants should remain honest, objective, and ethical regarding their job duties. An organization's financial health and status and the entire economy depend on it.

    The Crucial Need for Accountants

    Every business of every kind has financial needs. A knowledgeable accountant can help any business owner maximize gains and minimize losses.

    As you can see from our list, many of the most critical skills aren't technical. They involve softer qualities like interpersonal, communication, and organizational skills. While every business and client have different needs, aspiring accountants in North Carolina can count on these skills to be integral to the job.

    Career-focused individuals will discover many job opportunities in accounting. Every business requires someone skillful in handling finances, and the career field is ever-evolving to keep up with the latest developments. If some of the above skills come naturally to you, you might want to consider a career in accounting.

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