Traditionally, accountants are thought of as individuals sitting alone in their cubicles, crunching numbers. While this may suit many starting out in this career, additional skills will be needed for a successful future in the accounting profession. With ever-changing technology, which has caused a continued emphasis on working with people, an expanded skillset is essential. Here are a few key skills accountants should develop throughout their career.
In every accounting profession, strong written and verbal communication skills are important. Whether the individual is working in public or private accounting, one will need to effectively communicate facts and numbers. Knowing the data is only half the battle; accountants also need to communicate the information, and its underlying meaning, to management in a way that is easy to understand. This skill has become increasingly important with the number of professionals working remotely.
For years, accountants have relied on historical data to make decisions. Accountants are now looking more toward predictive data. Specifically, in auditing, the profession is moving from being reactive to proactive, this includes auditing in real time. An accountant needs to be able to understand the data, noting key trends, in order to make better decisions. Future accountants need to have both a practical and theoretical understanding of the data and related analytics for successful business performance.
Technology is changing daily. As a result, doing things “the way they’ve always been done” doesn’t cut it anymore in the accounting world. Having a basic knowledge of technology is acceptable, but to thrive in the future, one must be willing to adapt to these technological developments.
While data and technology are important in the accounting profession, the skill of cultivating relationships cannot be ignored. People are an essential asset in any organization. Whether it’s explaining processes to a new employee or working through a project with a seasoned manager, the skills used in building relationships will pay dividends down the road.
Studies have shown that co-worker relationships are a determining factor in employee retention. This has become a difficult skill to master nowadays, with the remote environment that many people find themselves in. Additionally, relationship skills are essential in advising clients. The human relationship and the trust between an accountant and their client are two things that can’t be replaced by technology.
In summary, the accountant of the future should have a firm grasp on technology, be able to obtain and understand the necessary data and communicate their findings effectively through trusted relationships with their colleagues and clients. As the business environment becomes more complex, accountants will find that enhancing these skills will exponentially expand their career.
If you have questions about additional skills that may be pertinent to your future career in accounting, feel free to send Katie McDonnell a message.
Do you think you have what it takes to make a difference on our team? Learn about the benefits of starting your career at Mahoney.