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Today, companies of all sizes are looking for accounting professionals with the perfect balance of technical accounting skills and interpersonal and professional skills to meet their needs. There is no denying the importance of having qualified accountants working in or for your business. Whether you’re a self-managed entrepreneur or an established professional looking for a job, quality bookkeeping skills are essential to maintaining the financial health of your business or advancing your career.

What are the main skills of a great accountant?

Modern accounting requires much more than doing calculations and balancing ledgers. Accountants have the difficult task of balancing “hard skills” with interpersonal “soft skills” to help their business grow. These are the soft and hard skills you need to be a great accountant.

What are soft skills in accounting?

Soft skills are less tangible and more difficult to measure than hard skills; they are usually learned through experience. Here are the top soft skills every accountant needs.

  • Communication: Today’s accounting and finance professionals aren’t just supposed to do the math; they must be able to tell the story behind the numbers in an interesting and easily understandable way. This is especially true when communicating with colleagues or clients who are unfamiliar with accounting terms. In addition to excellent verbal communication skills, accountants must have strong business writing skills to write clean, concise, and accurate emails, reports, or documents.
  • Organization: Accountants must be highly organized in order to manage multiple accounts and clients, meet company deadlines and follow proper guidelines. Accountants deal with a large amount of paperwork and a disorganized person may find it difficult to file sensitive documents correctly or on time.
  • Time management: Most accountants work on multiple projects at once, which means their time management and multitasking skills must be exceptional. Additionally, time management is crucial during tax season, when accountants must go above and beyond to meet the needs of their business and their clients.
  • Problem solving: Every organization encounters financial gaps that need to be considered. Great accountants have critical thinking and problem-solving skills to solve financial mistakes and are creative in solving complex problems.

FOR YOUR INFORMATION: Problem-solving skills are just as crucial to an accountant as technical expertise and technical skills, as even small financial discrepancies can have huge implications for businesses in any industry.

  • Flexibility: Businesses today need accountants who can adapt to the many changes guaranteed in any organization. As technology and practices evolve, accountants must be prepared to learn and master the changes almost immediately. Accountants must also keep abreast of internal changes, such as new platforms and project workload fluctuations, in addition to those resulting from new rules and laws.
  • Industry Knowledge: While large organizations often offer training in various fields, accountants are expected to have a wide range of industry knowledge. As an accountant, you need to have enough expertise in ledgers, public offerings, and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission reports to add value to an organization.
  • Analytical Skills: Organizations expect accountants to be extremely thorough, for obvious reasons. Accountants always scrutinize long reports. The ability to perform exams quickly and accurately is crucial. An accounting error can lead to significant discrepancies and inconsistent results.
  • Spreadsheet proficiency: If you haven’t mastered Microsoft Excel yet, it’s time to sign up for a course. Spreadsheets are a staple in the accounting industry and mastering them is a great way to stand out from the competition. As an accountant, you can expect to use a spreadsheet at some point in your career, regardless of the specific path you choose.

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What are hard skills in accounting?

Unlike soft skills, hard skills are specific and measurable; they can be learned in school, in professional courses or in books. Today, technical accounting skills include strong technical skills. [If you’re looking for help with your accounting tasks, check out our reviews of the best accounting software for businesses.]

Staying on top of technology trends, especially in the area of ​​fintech, is becoming more important every year. Although every accountant is expected to have Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and Microsoft Excel, employers are looking for more advanced skills and expertise in the following areas:

  • Microsoft Visual Basic
  • QuickBooks
  • Data analysis
  • business intelligence software
  • Risk and Compliance
  • Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Software
  • Cloud-based accounting

PointPoint: QuickBooks is by far the most popular accounting software. All accountants should master this program. Learn more in our QuickBooks review.

While people may assume that every accountant is an expert in all areas of finance, individual accountants may focus on certain areas of expertise. Companies are often looking for a specific experience or industry knowledge that will fill a gap within their organization.

For example, government accountants must understand local, state, and federal regulations, while management accountants must have a solid foundation in business finance. Hiring managers will look for these specific characteristics when interviewing candidates for an accountant position.

What are the specialized skills in accounting?

Hard skills are specific areas of expertise within your industry. Whether you acquire them through experience or through courses, they are one of the best ways to stay ahead of the competition. In today’s digitized world, many of these skills are centered around certain types of software. Depending on your specialty, mastering these types of software can give you an edge over your peers.

  • Financial analysis software: Organizations often use this type of software to help automate the accounting process. While it’s common for large corporations to train their employees on their preferred methods of financial analysis, specialist knowledge would be a great talking point during an interview with any hiring manager. Knowledge of this software is a great addition to your bookkeeping skills, as it means you know how to simplify your work and go through reports at a fast pace.
  • Tax preparation software: For individuals and businesses alike, tax season can be quite a challenge. An accountant who is proficient in tax preparation software is an invaluable asset to any organization. Not only is this accounting skill a great addition to your resume, it also eliminates the need for your organization to outsource the task, which can save a lot of money.
  • Compliance software: Every industry has its risks. Learning about compliance software can really help you stand out from the crowd because it shows your knowledge extends well beyond calculations. An accountant who understands compliance software is the one who can protect a company’s most valuable assets.

Dachondra Cason contributed writing and research to this article.