A business that relies on accountants to manage its finances and provide important information on the financial health of the company need the best accountants it can find to handle the process. If you are thinking of becoming an accountant, you need to develop the right set of skills to be the best accountant you can be.
Your ability to be well-organised, communicate effectively, manage your time well, and know about and how to use new technologies to make the job easier are among the major skill sets you need to develop to be the best.
Here is an overview of the skills sets needed and why they are important in helping you to do an accounting job well.
You will need exceptional organisational skills to be a successful accountant. Part of the job of an accountant involves planning when certain accounting functions are performed (like payroll and billing functions). When time is short, you’ll need to have the ability to prioritise the functions that need to get done first and what functions can wait a little longer. You need to maintain a filing system for invoices, payment records, and other accounting activities. You must be very detailed in everything you do to make sure it’s done right and you don’t make any mistakes that could cause the company problems.
You are going to have to explain your findings and considerations to others at various times as a part of your duties as an accountant. Sometimes, the material you are presenting and the explanation you are going to give will not be easily understood by those listening to your presentation. You need to develop your communication skills if you want others to listen and appreciate what you are explaining. Among the most important aspect of the communication skills that you need to develop is the ability to explain things in a manner that doesn’t offend or ridicule a person who doesn’t understand accounting principles and methods will understand.
To explain things in an effective and productive manner, you’ll have to develop the ability to be willing to slow down at times and explain your material simply when others have a hard time understanding it. Learning to empathise with others trying to understand what you are communicating will help you to get your message heard and accepted.
Informational Technology Skills
As an accountant, you should be familiar with and know how to use accounting and business intelligence software. You should be experienced in things like advanced excel programming and data analytics. You should also have knowledge of ERP (enterprise resource planning) and how the different accounting software works and interacts with other software in managing the affairs of a company.
Another IT skill set is learning and knowing how to use the U.K. payment initiative SEPA (Single European Payments Area) technology. SEPA credit transfer and direct debit technology have recently replaced the national euro credit transfer and direct debit schemes that were previously in use in Europe as of 2014. The new regulations affect the corporate payment service user for small and medium-sized businesses as well as public and government institutions doing payment processing services across the borders for countries throughout the Eurozone. If you know how to use advanced technology like SEPA, you’ll advance your career significantly.
Customer Service Skills
If you intend to work for an accounting firm with many clients, you will need to develop good customer skills to handle questions and problems since you will be a point person that will be responsible for maintaining good relationships with customers, and in some cases, may be responsible for bringing new customers on board. You will have to develop the ability to deal with irate customers and learn how to calm down while you are addressing their problems and issues. The same skill set will be needed if you work for a large company with many departments and department heads. They will have to be serviced the same way you would do for your customers.
An accountant is an important member of any business or organisation. You have to learn to develop the necessary skills sets to do the job right so you can be a valuable and productive member of the company or organisation you serve as an accountant.