The competition for jobs is quite tough in the labour market, so those with an accounting background might want to refresh themselves on what employers look for in an accountant before they start applying for their first accounting job or for a new one. 

The good news for all accounting professionals is that this industry has remained both competitive and fast-growing over the years, with expected stable job growth through the end of the current decade. As a result of these, accountants need to be versatile and proficient, educated and certified, and give employers a good reason to choose them over the numerous applicants who will inevitably apply for each open position in a business organization. I compiled a list of what today’s tax, accounting, and corporate firms are looking for among new applicants.

EDUCATION AND CERTIFICATION
Furthermore, an accountant with greater education will be more likely to land the job for which they are applying for than the ones with lesser education. It’s common to see accountants with two-year, four-year or more, and master’s degrees to back it up, all working together. We should note that accountants are simply more likely to land their first position with a bachelor’s degree than with a two-year degree. Likewise, those with graduate-level work in accounting might have a slight edge over other applicants. Also worth noting is that accountants who have taken and passed the professional examination will be far more likely to land a job than those who have not done so. Professional exam certifies the proficiency, ethical knowledge, and expertise of the accountant, and is a key differentiator among other applicants who are applying for the same job.

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KNOWLEDGE OF GAAP AND ETHICAL PRINCIPLES
Accounting profession is highly regulated by government laws, including the likes of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Furthermore, we should also note that state accounting boards and numerous corporate, internal auditing departments, oversee accounting activities to ensure that they’re properly reporting and disclosing company financial information. As a result of theses, businesses are concerned chiefly with the proficiency of an accountant on GAAP and their understanding of the legal and ethical requirements that govern the profession. An accountant with the above listed knowledge is likely to be less of a risk in a firm and be far more productive than one who does not know the various laws that governs the profession and best practices that make corporate accounting accurate and honest.

TECHNOLOGY PROFICIENCY
While the old generation accountants might have been proficient in binders, log books and calculators, the modern accountant must instead know how to use the various accounting software suites and tools. Most businesses conduct all its accounting activities electronically, since today’s software often comes with built-in checks, balances, and ethical enforcement software, which can safeguard the company from investigation or ethical problems. Accountants who wish to have a competitive edge over other accountants should make sure that they’re proficient in multiple popular accounting software suites for the accounting profession. Some accountants might want to make sure that they know how to e-file personal and corporate tax forms, while others may want to double-check their knowledge of financial reporting software or budget analysis programs.

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BUSINESS AND COLLABORATION SKILLS
Accountants should be ready to become a central part of the business world. They should be ready to work without anyone supervising them, lead a team, collaborate with other departments, and engage socially with coworkers. These skills, typically measured in interviews, are a key factor of long-term job performance and satisfaction in the accounting profession .

Key Skills Make the Difference for Accounting Job seekers. They also include:
Accountants should be computer proficiency, ethical knowledge, and education, are just a few of the most important skills for today’s accountants. The skills that employers look out for in an accountant will determine their job performance, their job satisfaction, and the accountant’s ability to advance into new roles over time, so when applying for a new position, be sure to fulfill each of the above requirements.