The days when accountants are known as number crunchers are long gone. In this modern world where finance professionals need more than just technical competence, it is very important that accountants possess soft skills that are high in demand.
Forget about having Diploma, Degrees, Masters and other professional qualifications in accounting, they only help in getting you the job. The soft skills you possess will determine if you will stay in a job or not. The following are some soft skills for accountants.
This skill is very important if you are pursuing a career in forensic accounting. You will miss out on important aspect required in getting forensic accounting information if you don't have a good interviewing skill.
Accounting will be useless if accounting information cannot be effectively communicated to the users for decision making. The whole accounting process such as; collecting, analysing and interpreting financial data will be useless if the information is not communicated in the language that is understood by the intended recipients. Don't forget that accountants are the only finance professionals that speak the language of business fluently, this is many people fondly call accountants ‘business communicators’.
POSSESSION OF HIGH DEGREE OF MORAL STANDARD:
Accountants are the doctors of the business environment. Your clients trust you with information which are confidential to their business. People have to see you as a truthful person with incorruptible reputation if they are to entrust their business secrets in your hands. Your reputation is one of the things you have to guide jealously in order to succeed as an accountant.
Small business owners now expect more from their accountants. For example, As an accountant of a small business firm, you are seen by the business owner as not just an accountant but a part owner. You must be street smart in order to close this expectation gap. Street smartness demands that you have highly developed business intelligence. In order to develop the entrepreneurial skill required in the market for accounting service, i recommend that accountants should have a small business of their own.
ABILITY TO LISTEN TO FIGURES:
You must be able to listen to and understand the language of numbers in order to be a good accountant. This is the area where most professional accountants are found wanting. Experience has shown that most business failures that occur should have been avoided if the handwriting on the wall had been understood. The role of accountants in preventing frauds and other financial irregularities can not be ignored anymore. By acquiring this soft skill of listening to and understanding the language of number, accountants will be more equipped to carry out their duty of fighting accounting fraud. Accountants working as auditors strive to reduce audit risks in order to ensure that the wrong kind of audit opinion is not expressed. There are soft skills that help auditors apply professional judgement, for example; a neatly arranged figures in the financial statements of a business might be a sign of anomalies or error or corporate fraud.
POSITIVE WORK ETHICS:
Accountants should be seen performing their duties in a positive manner at all-time. Meeting the accounting ethics requirements is not just enough, they also need to possess a personal positive attitude towards work.
PEOPLE MANAGEMENT AND NETWORKING SKILLS:
Accounting is no longer a back office function, it has taken one of the front seats in vibrant organizations. For instance, accountants are now major players in customer care services in most big companies. The ability to manage network and people effectively is of great value especially when faced with difficult unique circumstance. This is the main reason why professional accountancy bodies like ACCA and CIMA encourage their members to be part of a local chapter of their organization.
TIME MANAGEMENT SKILLS:
Time management plays an important role in every profession. Providing timely information which is one of the most important role of accounting will be defeated if accounting information is not presented on time. If you want to be efficient at your work as an accountant, you must possess time management skill in order to produce quality accounting information within budget.
ABILITY TO KNOW WHEN TO WORK ALONE AND WHEN TO WORK WITH TEAM:
Recruitment experts will always advice that you must give the employer the impression that you are a team player so as to get a job, there are times when doing the job alone gives desired result. As an accountant, you must be able to detect when to work alone and when to work as a team.
POSSESSION OF THICK SKIN UNDER PRESSURE:
Accounting is a rewarding profession but it comes with pressure and criticisms. You must have the ability to work under pressure and the critical fault spotting eyes of most partners. This feature works together with the experience acquired in the street.