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What are Extra Skills that Help Accountants Land their Career?

Updated: Jul 19, 2022

What are succeeding skills that complement this constantly evolving marketplace?

As you progress in your finance and accounting industry, always ensure you enhance your accounting skills and learn new ones.

Specialization of focus in regulatory compliance can be a solid addition to your accounting skills. Employers look for applicants with a history in anti-money laundering (AML), Know Your Customer, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review, and the Dodd-Frank Act, particularly rules related to capital adequacy and consumer protection.

Here are six tips on how you improve yourself so that you can adapt to the digital trend:

1. General Accounting Business Knowledge

The better you understand the overall business and how you and your team fit into the picture, the more productive your relationships outside your department will be

The scope of accounting positions has been expanding over time, especially so in recent years. In particular, accounting professionals must collaborate with other departments, so it's important to know what other teams do to make your relationship more productive.

2. Account-Tech Trend: Most updated Skills Updated

Spearheading technology skills in accounting gives you way steps in the accounting game. With knowledge in cloud computing and automation, accountants work with new technologies.

You will also need to consider familiarity and even boost your knowledge with the specific software and tools accounting leaders are looking for:

  • Advanced Excel

  • Enterprise resource planning (ERP) (e.g., SAP, Oracle)

  • Extensive data analysis, advanced modeling techniques, and SQL

  • Business intelligence software (E.g., IBM Cognos)

  • Microsoft Visual Basic

  • Hyperion

  • Microsoft Visual Basic Skills

  • QuickBooks

If you opt to speed up your position, consider asking your manager what kind of professional development the company would support to sharpen your accounting skills. Or, if you’re searching for a job, you could enroll in a course in one of the skills areas listed above. Being proactive about your professional development could impress a potential employer.

3. Communication Skills

Accountants need to be able to tell the story behind the numbers, particularly for colleagues in other departments less familiar with accounting principles and jargon. Both verbal and written communication skills are critical for success in any accounting role.

Whether you’re writing or speaking, you will have to present information about the business in ways that can be understood and acted upon. The insights you share will be of no use to others if you can’t communicate them in a way that can be understood and acted upon.

Ask yourself these questions about your communication:

  • Do you use jargon that might not be understood?

  • Are you providing too many numbers or too much detail for your audience?

  • Are you listening actively to others?

4. Adaptability and Flexibility

Adaptability and flexibility are also top among the skills accounting professionals possess. A key driver for this trend is technological change, as the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) is a critical business tool. The ability to pivot and roll with change is an absolute must.

5. Leadership Abilities

Managers have an eye on the future and want professionals who possess strong leadership qualities and can step into more senior roles when the time is right. They look for individuals who can avoid or resolve conflicts, adapt well to change, mentor others and embrace continuous learning.

6. Customer Service Orientation

Whether you work in public or private accounting, solid customer service skills are critical. If you work in a public accounting firm, you need to be able to retain current customers and bring in new clients. And if you work in corporate accounting, you must meet the needs of the organization’s other departments and managers.

“How can I help you?” shouldn’t be a phrase far from accounting professionals’ minds.

Are you looking to boost your accounting skills?

As an accounting professional, you may already have the technical expertise to do the job. As you build your career, consider earning in-demand accounting certifications.

Look for opportunities to get training to make you more marketable as a job candidate and a more valuable team member.

That said, on-the-job experience is often the best way to learn or improve a skill. If you want to advance in your career, you need to demonstrate other qualities — these skills for accountants that are essential to your success.

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