Do you love details and analysis? Are you the one who identifies a problem and also finds the solution? Does organizing information make you happy? If you prefer a job with good stability and upward mobility – accounting may be the right fit. And, you might be surprised to learn – accountants are not “bean counters” anymore!
While many of the standard skills and qualifications will always be needed, the accountant in today’s business environment will utilize their skills in a much wider variety of ways than in traditional roles.
Companies today are hiring accountants that have specialties; strong technical skills; and a great understanding of how businesses work. Accountants as advisors become trusted partners to internal departments or external clients that help businesses become or stay successful.
If you possess the following traits, you can make a great accountant!
- Organized and a good manager of time
- The highest degree of integrity and ethics
- Ability to easily interpret and communicate concepts
- Collaborative and customer service focused
- Critical thinker that enjoys using technology to improve processes
- Compile and analyze financial data, accounting entries, and reconciliations
- Perform scheduled (monthly, quarterly, annually) and ad hoc accounting and financial reports
- Develop and analyze departmental budgets to make business recommendations
- Maintains compliance utilizing internal controls and manages business tax reporting process
- Conducts periodic audits to ensure accuracy and develop improvement processes
- Act as consultant/ advisor to make recommendations for best practices to leadership team/clients
- The average salary for an accountant is $70,500 per year.
Like other business service providers, technology is changing the face of accounting through increased automation. Accountants will use more cloud-based applications, DIY software, and blockchain technology to deliver real-time information. Accountants who can analyze and manage “big data” and blockchain technology will be an asset.
What Can Set A Candidate Apart?
Specialization is the key. If you haven’t heard of AML (anti-money laundering) or revenue recognition, you may want to explore sub-specialties that will make you stand out from the rest of the pack.
Accounting professionals with strong strategic thinking and technological skills will be in high demand. The evolving health care landscape is creating an additional need for healthcare accounting.
Common Skills and Proficiencies
- Extensive proficiency in spreadsheets and accounting software
- Expertise in big data analysis and modeling techniques
- Knowledge of business intelligence software (e.g., IBM Cognos)
- Advanced knowledge of GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles)
- Intermediate to advanced knowledge of compliance and tax regulations
Frequently Required Credentials and Education
- B.A. in Accounting preferred, Master’s degree frequently desired
- CPA, CMA or specialized studies a plus
The job out look for an Accountant, in general, has a higher than average rate of growth compared to other occupations at 10% through 2026. The Bureau of Labor Statistics cites globalization, a growing economy and complex tax regulations for the high demand for accountants and auditors.