Job Hunting Tips

The Key Soft Skills for an Accounting Jobseeker

Kirsten GarrettPosted by Kirsten
min read

No longer are Accountants employed just to crunch the numbers and produce the financial statements.

Yes, records need to be accurate, taxes need to be paid and audits need to be passed, but your ability to relate to people around you is considered to be more important than ever. Today, these ‘soft skills’ are just as essential as technical skills to your success as an Accountant. The reality is, you will be hired for your interpersonal, communication and ‘team fit’ skills as much as your technical abilities. A typical job description for an Accountant, a decade ago, would be a list of duties and responsibilities. The key criteria for success would include education/qualifications, previous experience, relevant systems and possibility industry knowledge.

Whilst all of these criteria are still found on a typical job description, a longer list of personality traits are highly sought after. No longer does an Accountant sit behind a desk or screen, seen but not heard. Invariably the list of soft skills to be successful as an Accountant includes many of the below:

  • Oral communication skills

  • Problem solving skills

  • Ability to manage multiple tasks simultaneously

  • Organisational skills

  • A willingness and ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships

  • Initiative and sense of urgency

  • Energy and resilience

  • Integrity and influencing skills

  • Problem solving skills

  • Leadership capability

This is because you need to be an integral part of the business overall. Stakeholders no longer expect you to just crunch the debits and credits, but want you to understand how the business works, to be able to communicate complex financial information in non financial jargon (have you ever tried to explain forecasting to a new sales manager?  It takes skill!) and to consult to the overall business more widely.

This is exciting stuff when you think about it.  Few of us want to be shut in the back room and left alone all day, so the fact that management needs you front and centre in the business is fantastic for those curious souls who want to understand why and not just what!

As an Accountant, what do you think?  Do you think you have the soft skills as well as the technical knowledge to make it in this changing world?