How To Grow Your Accounting Skills In 5 Simple Steps
More than merely crunching statistics is required of today’s accountants. In order to flourish as an accountant in 2022, you’ll need current abilities that are compatible with cutting-edge technology.
Accounting specialists with the appropriate blend of technical accounting knowledge and interpersonal, professional qualities are sought by firms of all sizes today. There’s no questioning the value of having qualified accountants working for or in your company. Quality accounting abilities are essential to maintain the financial health of your firm or progress your career, whether you’re an entrepreneur handling your books on your own or an experienced professional seeking employment.
In the accounting sector, staying current is a significant issue, especially now that automation is on the increase. One of the top three business concerns, according to 45.9% of accountants, is new technology and digital disruption, while 23.7 per cent feel that acquiring trained and qualified staff in the future would be tough.
There’s just one way to combat accounting sector automation: embrace it. Automation and AI accounting technology, believe it or not, will not replace your accounting profession; in fact, over 72% of accountants say that technology has enhanced their productivity at work, decreasing time spent on administrative duties and boosting the overall quality of their service.
There’s more to becoming a competent accountant than just getting a degree.
You’re studying to become a CPA (Certified Practicing Accountant), which is one of the most reliable methods to establish oneself as a certified professional in the accounting field and significantly expand your accounting knowledge.
In Tax, Financial Accounting, Business and Finance, and Auditing, the CPA exam puts your accounting abilities to the test.
CPA review courses can help you prepare for this difficult test, which is divided into four sections. With a competent review course and a mentor, CPA candidates may normally pass the test in six months. With practice questions, lectures, and study notes, review courses will help you learn the information and prepare you to pass the test.
The EA, CMA, and CIA are just a few of the accounting certifications available. While each of these qualifications is important, the CPA exam is the most well-known and comprehensive. Nearly every accounting job advertisement requires the EA/CMA/CIA or CPA license, making the CPA license the most versatile in terms of career opportunities.
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Take the Correct Courses
Most institutions require accounting students to take a set of courses in order to get an accounting degree, but most also provide them with the option of choosing their electives. Learn more about your chosen profession by using these optional options. Soft skills such as communication, problem-solving, time management, and critical thinking may all help you stand out to potential employers.
Taking career-related programs will not only impress potential employers but will also improve your skill sets, helping you to achieve greater success in your chosen area.
Take CPE Courses
Accountants should never stop learning! Continuing Professional Education (CPE) is an excellent approach to remaining current on industry rules and developments.
CPE is required of all CPA licenses every year. These are fantastic methods to learn specific and useful skills that you may apply to your work.
Want to learn how to use pivot tables and Vlookup in Excel? Maybe you want to learn more about tax planning, data analysis, or forensic accounting? There are CPE classes that cover these topics.
There’s a reason accounting is termed a “practice.” Courses and CPE can help you learn a lot, but the greatest approach to genuinely improving your accounting abilities is to get some real-world experience and use what you’ve learned.
Accounting is a highly technical subject that is best learnt via hands-on experience. The difficulties you’ll confront in the real world will never be as simple and clear as the ones you learn about in your accounting classes. Accounting experts, on the other hand, are highly respected since we solve issues.
Accounting is continuously developing, necessitating the services of accountants today more than ever. Green ledgers and tax returns were once filled out by hand by accountants. Now that the majority of our work is done online, virtual accounting is more accessible than ever.
Quality accountants are in high demand, and many businesses are looking for qualified employees that want to learn and grow with their companies. You only need to be willing to put in the effort!
Find a Mentor
Finding a mentor is one of the most significant things you can do for your accounting career. Someone who will take you under their wing and assist you in accomplishing your goals. Coaches and mentors assist even professional athletes.
Many accounting firms assign new workers to a mentor who is one level above than them. You should utilize this resource to the fullest extent feasible.
Ask your mentor meaningful questions about your professional prospects and how they can help you get there. Make your career objectives very clear. Also, inquire as to how you may aid your mentors. It’s crucial to thank them for their time and attention, even if they don’t want anything in return.
Also, don’t confide in just one mentor. There are several mentors available! Just make sure you’re not wasting their time by following their recommendations!
According to market trends and research into what companies look for in job postings, there are five basic but vital accounting skills that new accounting graduates should have in order to get hired and contribute right away.
Knowledge of current accounting software
Cloud accounting software is identical to on-premises or self-install accounting software, except that it is hosted on distant servers, similar to the SaaS (Software as a Service) business model. The user’s data is transported to “the cloud,” where it is processed and returned.
The relevance of technology utilization has been underscored by the exponential increase of software advancements in recent years. Cloud accounting is the most recent technological advancement in the field. More firms are looking for employees with the proper IT abilities to comprehend new financial systems, thanks to the rising focus on digitalisation and automation.
As the usage of cloud accounting grows, corporate efficiency becomes more reliant on the software. It is in the company’s best interest to choose employees who will increase productivity, which means hiring people who are well-versed in diverse tools. An accountant’s success depends on mastering the theory and learning how to extract useful data from reports. However, rising in your profession will be difficult if you are unable to use the software and other tools required to execute your work.
Consider enrolling in some accounting training classes to improve your accounting abilities in one of these areas if you want to maximize your work opportunities or grow in your present position.
Don’t Negate the Soft Skills
In 2017, Google released the results of an internal analysis of all teams to identify which were the most creative and productive. Employees who brought both hard and soft abilities to the collaborative process made the greatest teams, they discovered.
Employers often look for two sorts of talents in potential employees: hard skills and soft skills. Accounting’s practical and theoretical abilities are considered hard skills. However, because everyone graduating with you will have the same degree of knowledge and expertise, soft skills become an important quality for recruiting because they are something that not everyone has mastered.
Communication, for example, is a basic thing that may help you explain your thoughts and present yourself properly in a job interview. Being able to communicate well in writing and in person allows you to demonstrate your hard abilities. Engaging in soft skills development, such as teamwork, problem-solving, and time management may set you apart from the crowd, making hard skills useless without soft skills. The distinction between passable and ideal candidates is their soft talents.
Desire to Gain CPA or CA Qualification
Both the CPA and the CA are excellent qualifications. They may assist you in gaining a competitive advantage in the job market for accountants. Those who hold a CPA or CA license have an edge over those who do not, particularly accountants who want to grow in their professions.
These credentials allow you to work for a wide range of organizations throughout the world, and the accounting abilities you’ve learned may be applied to other fields.
People value pay potential and benefits as much as a genuine interest in the profession. The good news for individuals considering obtaining a CPA or CA license is that you will earn 10-15% more than others in similar professions.
Customer Service Orientation
Customer service skills can be vital to your success as an accountant, whether you work in a public or private accounting business. You must be able to keep current consumers while also attracting new ones.
Listening to your clients with empathy, answering their questions, and providing them with the services they require in a timely manner are all examples of effective customer skills. If you want your customers to come back to your service year after year, make them feel welcome and valued.
When you apply for accounting employment, companies generally look at your customer service abilities as one of the most important factors in selecting whether or not to hire you.
General Business Knowledge
Employers are seeking for employees with general business knowledge in addition to accounting abilities. Contributing to the firm as an accountant involves more than simply a grasp of the statistics.
Accounting experts are taking on a larger role at work in today’s commercial sector. Accounting professionals must be able to view the broad picture and comprehend how their accounting abilities affect the whole firm since they engage with other departments often.
Put Your Accounting Skills to Work
Accounting careers are in great demand and continue to grow. Companies require accounting experts with a variety of abilities, including but not limited to the ones listed above. Consider taking practical accounting training to improve your accounting abilities, whether you are a new accounting graduate or an accounting professional trying to further your career.
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Accounting Skills Required for Job Success
In recent months, the recruiting climate has gotten increasingly unstable. The good news is that many firms, particularly accounting and finance departments, are still hiring for both on-site and remote employment. If you have a well-developed set of accounting abilities, you may have a better chance of becoming a strong candidate for the employment you want.
More than just the ability to crunch numbers, fill out cost sheets and depreciate fixed assets are required accounting abilities. In addition to standard accounting knowledge, every accounting professional, whether working in an office or remotely, needs a number of difficult and soft skills.
The following is a rundown of seven sets of accounting abilities, some technical and others not, that can help you develop your accounting job search and career.
General business knowledge
Accounting and financial roles have grown in breadth throughout time, particularly in recent years. These professionals, in particular, must cooperate and coordinate with colleagues from different departments more frequently.
So, it’s essential to know what other functions do and how the accounting and finance organisation’s work supports their initiatives. The more you learn about the company’s general operations, the better. The better you and your team understand how you and your department fit into the “big picture,” the more fruitful your connections outside of your department will be.
Up-to-date technology expertise
Finding specialists with up-to-date technological competence mentioned among their accounting talents might be difficult for finance directors. However, as accounting firms and other organizations continue to extend their use of accounting automation, you can be sure that dealing with finance-specific software packages will be a given in your profession.
Among the other technology-related accounting skills in high demand by numerous businesses are:
- Advanced Excel knowledge
- Experience with enterprise resource planning (ERP) (e.g., SAP, Oracle)
- substantial data analysis, complex modeling approaches, and SQL expertise
- Business intelligence software knowledge (e.g., IBM Cognos)
- Ability to use Microsoft Visual Basic
- Hyperion’s Aptitude (for the analyst and financial reporting roles)
- Skills in Microsoft Visual Basic
- QuickBooks expertise (for positions with small and midsize firms)
If you wish to grow in your current work, speak with your boss about the company’s online accounting skills training alternatives. You might also enroll in an online course in one of the skills categories indicated above if you’re presently looking for work. A future employer may be impressed if you are diligent about your professional growth.
As an accountant, you’ll almost certainly deal with clients, which might range from the initial appointment to review the client’s finances to intensive networking to drum up new business. You must be able to converse vocally in person as well as over the phone. It’s also crucial to be able to effectively explain complex financial topics in layman’s terms and respond to queries. Some accounting occupations entail giving presentations in front of audiences, such as boards of directors, legal and financial authorities, or professional membership organizations.
As more workers shift to remote employment, communication talents have risen to the top of the list of must-have skills. The good news is that accounting and financial professionals have spent years honing one of these skills: presenting information in an easy-to-understand manner, particularly for audiences that aren’t as numerate. It’s now time to work on your other communication abilities.
It is critical to improve your verbal and written communication abilities in order to transmit information effectively and simply. More good news: You and your coworkers who work from home may already have an advantage in this area since you’ve had to rely on email (writing skills) and video platforms (verbal abilities) for every everyday encounter, from business demands to simple morning pleasantries.
Adaptability and flexibility
Even before the epidemic, adaptability and flexibility were high on the list of qualities accounting and finance professionals need. That trend was fueled by technological advancements, such as the growth of artificial intelligence (AI) as a significant commercial tool, and it is expected to continue. However, as companies attempt to define and operationalize their next “new normal,” the capacity to pivot and roll with change has become critical.
Creativity and a willingness to help others
The finest accountants are determined self-starters who can think beyond the box. When colleagues need assistance mastering a program or managing their first busy-season audit, you may be called upon to assist.
Your bosses may also turn to you for new ideas on how the company can maintain service to clients (particularly during this period of interruption), enhance compliance procedures, or handle a variety of other challenges.
Customer service orientation
Whether you work in public or private accounting, customer service skills are vital. You must maintain current clients and recruit new ones if you work for a public accounting firm. If you work in corporate accounting, you must also deal with requests from other departments and managers.
Accounting professionals may demonstrate good customer service by listening to their client’s demands and concerns, whether internal or external.
Specialized expertise, such as a focus on regulatory compliance, might be a valuable addition to your accounting qualifications. Many employers also look for candidates who have experience with anti-money laundering (AML), know your customer (KYC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review (CCAR), and the Dodd-Frank Act, particularly the capital adequacy and consumer protection rules.
Companies are also looking for accountants with revenue recognition experience. Revenue recognition courses, such as those offered by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), will help you better understand and apply existing and new revenue recognition concepts, as well as make suitable revenue recognition decisions.
Look for opportunities to improve your accounting abilities.
Today, businesses of all sizes look for accounting professionals with the perfect balance of technical accounting skills and interpersonal, professional skills to meet their needs. There’s no questioning the value of having qualified accountants working for or in your company. Quality accounting abilities are essential to maintain the financial health of your firm or progress your career, whether you’re an entrepreneur handling your books on your own or an experienced professional seeking employment.
Consider getting in-demand accounting qualifications while you try to advance your profession. Also, search for training opportunities to improve your marketability as a job applicant and your value as a team member.
On the other hand, for many of the abilities listed above, on-the-job training is the most effective technique of learning. Working in temporary accounting and financial employment while developing your CV and looking for a full-time position is one method to get that experience.
Many firms are looking to fill accounting and financial roles with temporary and part-time experts they can trust on to get the job done and maybe work remotely in this uncertain time. And the experience may pave the way for you to obtain more permanent work sooner.