5 Skills You’ll Need if You Want to Become an Accountant
A career path in the field of accounting brings a wide range of benefits, but it’s also highly stressful and demanding. Plus, it’s not something anyone can do since you need a specific set of skills to be successful.
Moreover, depending on the career path you choose, you’ll have to take several certification exams in order to advance. To pass these exams, you’ll need a combination of experience and education, which is not always easy to achieve.
The good news is that if you like the field, you can learn most of the skills and practice your knowledge through work. Still, before you dedicate yourself to this career path, it’s best to see if you have what it takes to become a successful accountant.
As such, today we’ll have a look at how to know if accounting is the right option and the skill set that’s needed to advance.
First: Is Accounting Right for You?
Many of the skills needed to be a good accountant are also used in other domains, like finance or management. So is this the right career path for you?
The answer mainly depends on your professional goals and aspirations. If you’re looking for a profession that can pretty much guarantee you won’t ever be unemployed, then accounting is a great option.
Also, one of the many benefits of an accounting career is a steady income that will grow as you get more experience and certifications. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a beginner CPA (Certified Public Accountant) makes around $70k per year, while CPAs with over 20 years of experience make $150k per year.
Accountants have many opportunities for career advancement, including becoming a partner in an accounting firm or moving into a senior management position within a company. Plus, you can work remotely or change your work schedule as needed.
On the downside, accountants often work long hours, especially during tax season or when deadlines are approaching. Also, the work is repetitive, tedious (most of the time), and sedentary, which is not the healthiest of combinations.
Lastly, accountants have a high level of responsibility for their clients’ financial well-being and can be held liable for errors or omissions.
Second: Do You Have What It Takes?
If you’ve got here and you’re still interested in becoming an accountant, now it’s time to check if you have the right skills.
Here’s what it takes to be successful in this line of work:
1. Independent Study Skills
The laws, rules, and accounting standards regarding money and business practices change all the time, so accountants must keep up if they want to stay relevant. For this, you’ll have to be open to a lifetime of learning and focus on professional development.
Plus, if you want to take a certification exam, like the one for becoming a CPA, you have to brush up your knowledge of various accounting fields. The good news is that you can find high-quality resources and prep courses on sites like the CPA Exam Guy.
The not-so-good news is that the sheer amount of study you have to do can become overwhelming if you’re also working. But, with the right study technique and a bit of help from your employer, you should be able to take your exam and move forward in your career.
2. Attention to Detail
A keen eye for detail and the ability to spot even the smallest discrepancies in financial records are extremely valuable skills for an accountant. Accuracy and precision are essential in this profession, as errors can have significant consequences for clients.
3. Analytical Thinking
Accountants must be able to analyze complex financial data and identify trends and patterns to help clients make informed business decisions. This requires a strong grasp of mathematical concepts and a sharp analytical mind.
4. Communication Skills
Unlike what some may think about accountants, they don’t spend their day shut in an office in the building’s basement. In fact, accountants must be able to communicate financial information effectively to both clients and colleagues.
This includes the ability to explain complex financial concepts in simple terms and to provide clear and concise reports.
5. Technical Proficiency
Professionals in this field must work with accounting software, spreadsheets, and other financial tools to help clients manage their finances effectively. So, they must be able to keep up with the latest developments in accounting technology.
Plus, with the development of remote teams and remote work, accountants must know how to set up a safe connection in order to communicate with remote customers and business partners.
To become a successful accountant, you must be able to keep up with the dynamic aspect of the field and have good communication skills. You also need impressive attention to detail, analytical thinking, and some level of technical proficiency.