While your technical skills are undoubtedly one of your greatest assets as an Accountant, there’s more to a career in finance than numbers and analysis. Employers will assess the way you work with others, how you convey complex Financial concepts and your ability to influence upwards, plus a variety of other soft skills. Here are some of the most important skills needed for Accounting.
To succeed as an Accountant and progress your career in finance you need to be an influential and respected figure in your business or firm. Negotiating is a skill particularly handy when you inevitably find yourself explaining proposals for change to senior executives. It is not enough to simply put your plan in front the board – you must be able to persuade them that your proposed changes are necessary and demonstrate convincingly how implementation will improve profits.
Employers want to hire Accountants capable of leading, motivating and inspiring their colleagues. Your leadership skills are heavily influenced by how you interact with those around you and your colleagues will respond differently to different management styles. Take time to cultivate your leadership skills and you may be surprised how quickly you climb the ranks of your finance department. Remember: leadership is not just about telling others what to do but also offering advice, support and mentoring.
Finance is rarely a one-person team. To really succeed in Accounting, you must be able to work productively with the rest of the department. Being an effective team player means being open to collaboration, willing to provide support and able to succeed as a group.
Building strong professional relationships is a key skill in any Accountancy role. Accountants working in practice must have sturdy alliances with colleagues and be able to quickly build productive relationships with clients. Those working in industry will need to build professional relationships with their colleagues not just in finance but in other departments across the business.
You will often see ‘written and verbal communication skills’ listed as a requirement on Accounting job adverts but frequently without context. What employers are looking for here is an essential skill with extensive application. Foremost, Accountants must be able to clearly articulate complex financial concepts to clients or colleagues without technical backgrounds while also being capable of writing in-depth yet succinct reports. However, solid communication skills are also an essential starting point in developing all the skills previously noted in this list: in order to lead efficiently, influence successfully, build strong relationships and function as a member of a team, you must be able to communicate effectively with clients and colleagues at every level.