Who is an accountant?
An accountant is an individual that collects, tracks, and analyses the financial information of a business with the aim of developing accurate financial statements and providing meaningful insights into the financial data of a company. The function of accounting is an essential part of every business and so becoming an accountant is a very popular and in-demand job. Accountants can work in a variety of fields including forensic accounting, audit, taxation, etc., and on average make between $60,760 – $99,800 a year. The field of accountancy is expected to grow by 7% by 2030. However, due to globalization and technology, the skills and knowledge requirements for accountants are constantly changing. This is why we have listed below the topmost essential skills that aspiring accountants need to have.
Top skills necessary to become an accountant:
1. Business Acumen and Good Communication Skills
Accountants need to work with several departments within a company to send and receive financial information and develop meaningful reports. This requires an understanding of how finance and accounting decisions affect other departments. Many times, accountants’ duties may also involve them collaborating with different branches of a company to draw up reports and carry out other responsibilities. In such an environment, understanding Accounting Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), the different components that KPIs are made of and their effect on other parts of the business such as cash flows is also important. In addition to these business skills, explaining the meaning behind financial data, reports, and accounting practices to other parties in an easily understandable way is also an important part of the job. In addition, accountants need to be ready to carry this out through different mediums such as online meetings, phones, emails, etc., which calls for excellent communication skills. These form the base for every accountant and are indispensable skills.
2. Knowledge of Accounting Concepts
As is evident from the name, accountants need to have a good understanding of accounting concepts. They need to have knowledge of how to prepare financial statements, make disclosures, draw up reports, carry out analysis with the help of accounting ratios, etc. Due to increasing globalization and many companies having multiple branches all over the world, accountants also need to be able to understand financial statements from different parts of the world and communicate financial information in a way that meets international legal requirements. This requires that accountants be aware of US GAAP and IFRS practices, how they differ from each other, and how to present financial statements and documents in each format. In addition, knowledge of bookkeeping, different tax legislations and how to carry out accounting for each can also help those interested in becoming tax advisers or tax accountants.
3. An expert in technology
As technology advances, the accounting world is increasingly integrating more software and technological tools into its processes. Accountants need to be able to work with these software programs and applications to fulfill their responsibilities. Failure to do so leads to a wastage of resources and can prove to be a disadvantage to accountants in the hiring process. Most accountants work with some form of spreadsheet to organize their financial data and present data reports, the most popular of which is Microsoft Excel. Other than this, knowledge of accounting software like Tally, Zoho Books, and QuickBooks and how to use them for daily accounting tasks can also immensely benefit aspiring accountants. Another useful software to learn is Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) which greatly streamlines an organization’s processes and tasks including the duties and responsibilities of the accounting department. Professionals well-versed in all these software applications are more desirable candidates for accounting positions because they can smoothly transition into an accounting position without much struggle.
4. Ability to analyze data and information.
One of the most basic skills needed by accountants for analyzing data is organization skills. Without this, accountants will not be able to analyze financial data in a meaningful and error-free manner. Analyzing data and information can be done with the help of spreadsheets like Excel or Google Sheets or with specialized software like Tableau or Power BI. In addition, accountants can also benefit from the knowledge of Structured Query Language (SQL) which can help them pull meaningful information from large sets of data quickly and without wasting time. Having an analytical mind with the ability to see patterns can help individuals immensely by helping them make meaningful recommendations, especially those interested in forensic accounting.
5. Time management and Problem-solving
Time management is crucial to accountants anywhere in the world. Accountants need to keep track of approaching deadlines and be able to file tax returns, financial statements, and other supporting documents on time. Moreover, they should also be problem solvers with the ability to foresee problems through critical thinking. This involves looking at a financial situation from multiple perspectives and identifying problem areas. This is important because accountants will be able to perceive the effect of certain financial decisions (such as changing the method of accounting for a particular item) on other aspects of the business. Accountants with this skill can then help solve these problems through flexibility and adaptability.
6. Continuous Learning
Continuous Learning is an essential part of every profession in today’s world and Accounting is no exception. Due to continual advancements in technology and increasing globalization, continuous learning is necessary for accountants to remain up to date with current trends and practices in the finance and accounting world. Gaining certifications like the CMA (Certified Management Accountant), CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst), CPA (Certified Public Accountant) or doing your master’s or post-graduation in accounting or related fields can also help you gain much-needed accounting skills.
To conclude, there are a variety of skills needed to be an accountant in today’s world, which we have explained in detail above. Becoming an accountant requires a wide mix of soft skills and proficiency in accounting and business concepts as well as expertise in accounting software and applications. We at Delphi Star Training Institute can help you become a world-class accountant with different training packages to suit your career needs.