Accounting skills are abilities that allow you to accurately and ethically manage financial transactions, analyze financial data and generate financial reports. They include hard skills such as understanding generally accepted accounting principles, mathematical comprehension and data analysis. It also includes soft skills such as attention to detail, critical thinking and problem-solving.
These skills are important for accountants to accurately and ethically manage, analyze and report on an organization’s financial activities. Skills to include on an accounting resume include:
1. Standards of accounting
Skills in standard principles of accounting, such as the GAAP, International Financial Reporting Standards or pro forma accounting, ensure a minimum level of consistency when preparing financial statements. These standards include a common set of principles and procedures for accountants to follow when preparing financial statements. This skill is important to maintain consistency in recording and reporting your organization’s finances as well as maintaining consistency for investors comparing your organization’s financial statements with those of other companies.
2. Knowledge of regulatory standards
Since accounting requires managing a company’s finances, it is important to have an understanding of regulatory standards surrounding corporate and public finances. The Securities and Exchange Commission establishes and enforce regulations to protect investors and market integrity. Understanding applicable regulatory standards is important to ensure compliance in meeting financial reporting requirements and integrity in accounting.
3. General business knowledge
As a support function, accounting often requires collaboration with employees in other departments or industries. General business knowledge allows you to have the basic understanding necessary to successfully work with industries outside of finance. An understanding of general business operations allows you to more accurately assess, record and report their financial needs.
4. Software proficiency
Accounting requires proficiency in various software such as word processing and spreadsheet applications as well as specialized accounting software. Specialized accounting software assists with maintaining a chart of accounts, managing the general ledger, reconciling accounts and generating financial statements. A job in accounting also requires being up-to-date with the latest technology including Enterprise Resources Planning software, which acts as a central location for all budgetary, purchasing, payable, invoicing, receivable, personnel and payroll needs of a business. Additionally, staying informed on the latest technology may help you remain competitive as businesses move toward accounting automation.
5. Data analysis
Data analysis is a necessary skill for accounting. It involves the ability to derive meaningful information from raw data. Data analysis allows accountants to create informational financial reports based on financial data such as account budgets, revenue and expenses. It also allows accountants to verify the accuracy of financial data for data integrity and reporting consistency.
6. Attention to detail
Attention to detail is very important in accounting. This skill involves the ability to review and identify inconsistencies in large amounts of data or information. Attention to detail is necessary to ensure consistency and accuracy in financial reporting. It allows you to verify financial data and generate accurate financial statements. Strong attention to detail indicates that you emphasize accuracy and consistency in financial practices. It also minimizes the potential for errors in accounting which could lead to audits and investigations by regulatory agencies.
- Effective communication
Effective communication is the ability to convey ideas and information in ways others can understand. An accounting role requires this skill for both written and verbal communication with individuals and with groups. In an accounting role, you may be responsible for preparing and presenting budget proposals, quarterly tax reports and other financial reports. Effective communication is necessary to ensure you clearly and concisely deliver information to the intended audience in a format they understand.
Successfully communicating budget proposals and financial reports require the ability to speak and write with confidence and clarity. It also includes giving and receiving feedback to confirm understanding or provide correction. Effective communication is friendly and positive as well as honest and respectful. It is the ability to communicate information and confirm that all parties involved understand the communication as you intended.
- Critical thinking
Critical thinking is the ability to consider a subject from all angles. It involves thoroughly conceptualizing, analyzing and evaluating information gained from experience, observation, reasoning or communication to fully understand the benefits and consequences of a particular action. Critical thinking is a significant component of problem-solving and is necessary to fully understand a problem then identify and evaluate the outcomes of possible solutions. Critical thinking skills are used in accounting to evaluate financial reports, apply accounting practices to new information and identify solutions to financial problems such as nonpayments, overages or balancing a budget within ethical standards of practice.
Problem-solving is the ability to find solutions and overcome problems that may result from accounting errors or inaccuracy. This includes recognizing that a problem exists, identifying available solutions, evaluating options, then selecting and implementing the best solution to resolve the problem. Problem-solving is necessary for accounting to ensure accuracy, consistency and ethical practice.
Prioritizing includes your ability to structure your efforts to ensure you complete tasks efficiently and by required deadlines. Accounting requires regularly maintaining financial accounts as well as periodic reporting and payments such as monthly, quarterly and annual reports and taxes. The ability to prioritize these tasks allows you to feel confident knowing they will be completed within required deadlines and you will not be subject to penalty from regulatory agencies.
Accounting is a support function for most businesses and requires a service orientation to ensure you provide quality, ethical service for your customers and clients. Having a service orientation as an accountant allows you to connect with customers and clients and help them understand the importance of accurate financial management. This skill indicates that you will provide financial advice and make financial decisions that are in the best interest of your customers and clients. It is also indicative of your desire to provide quality service for your customers and clients as well as your integrity in financial reporting.