Transferable Skills that make a Great Accountant

What Are Transferable Skills?

Transferable accounting skills are a set of skills that can be utilised in a variety of careers. Whether you are looking to progress your career into the accounting world, or looking to break into the industry as a newcomer, there are numerous skills that you may already have that will help you make the transition. 

As with any job role, accountants acquire a certain set of skills over time. Many of these are transferable, which makes them in demand as they tick a lot of boxes for many recruiters. Many may be surprised to know that there is more to an accountant than audits, tax returns and financial statements. Entering the profession can unlock access to other career paths, and help candidates climb the ladder.

Critical Thinking

One of those skills is the ability to approach all and every task logically. Often an accountant needs to gather, analyse and interpret financial data which requires you to evaluate information as well as understand its implications. From this, you should be able to draw conclusions from the data you are studying critically and comprehensively.

The ability to look at data from more than one side of the coin is advantageous, not just for accountants but for a wide range of jobs and industries. It can be applied in many ways, with critical thinking is an in-demand skill.

Problem-solving also falls under this skill, with accountants spending a lot of time examining their clients’ financial statements and balancing the books.

Work Ethic

This one may seem obvious, but having a strong worth ethic is required in many roles and positions, As an accountant, honesty and integrity are important and relevant to the role, with accountants practising commitment to ethical standards.

Included in work ethic is time management, respect for company policy and showing initiative. 

Organisational Skills

A skill that accountants, in particular, require when they juggle several projects at once making sure that their attention to detail is consistent across the board. This includes being able to make last-minute changes, look at a new direction and be challenged with adjusting workflow priorities. 

Dealing with change is not something many people have an easy time with, but having organisational skills means that you plan ahead so that any last-minute changes are prepped for and faced head-on.

Along with being organised, an accountant has a lot of responsibility meaning that they are busier than most, and so being organised is integral to the role. Time management, in particular, is required as well as the ability to manage competing priorities or being able to delegate when necessary.

Accountants work with deadlines, so having a way to manage your responsibilities and to have eyes on all of the projects you have on the go is essential to productivity. 

Attention to Detail

Having close attention to detail and a critical eye is imperative to the accountancy industry. Whether it is numbers on tax returns, income statements, cash flow reports or other, they need to be precise and 100% correct. The attention to detail is important to reduce the possibility of errors, which can cost time and money. 

Communication

Having the skills to listen, speak and write are skills gained working as an accountant. Whether you’re explaining something in an easy to understand way, expressing yourself clearly and adapting your presentation to different audiences, all these require skill with communication. 

Communication is also extremely important when it comes to collaboration internally with colleagues and other professionals within your career. Interpersonal skills are important when networking or attending a function, being able to confidently establish professional relationships and make a good impression are desirable. 

Math and Computer Skills

Maths is always going to be on the list of skills for an accountant, used daily to prepare budgets and identify variances, calculate and measure metrics and more. Accounting assignments often require expertise in certain software programmes, which means the ability to learn new systems quickly and hold basic computer skills are important to the role.

The main role of an accountant is to analyse large amounts of data and then provide that information into a format which is organised, uniform and easy to understand for non-accountants inside the business. 

Being able to deal with large quantities of information and extracting what is needed from that data, will help in the accounting profession.

Microsoft Excel is one of the most common software applications used in the accountancy field. Knowing the basic functions and more advanced tools that excel provides is a transferable skill that is valuable on your CV.

Adaptability

Because the industry is highly dynamic, accountants are required to adapt quickly to their surroundings and changes that may be thrown their way.

Being able to adapt in any situation means that you are likely to learn and grow in your career, facing each new challenge as an opportunity rather than a blocker. Along with adaptability, being proactive is yet another transferable skill that many employers find particularly interesting. It garners respect and enforces the fact that you have a strong work ethic.

Transparency

Being honest and transparent in your work is a transferable skill especially for the accountancy industry. Accountants and the firms they work for pride themselves on adhering to strict ethical standards and are trusted to look out for businesses best interests. 

Leadership

Leadership is another transferable skill that can help in numerous industries and job roles. Being able to mentor, teach, and be an approachable and friendly face for people that you’re responsible for are all skills that are welcomed into any workplace environment. 

Leadership does require confidence but it also needs patience and understanding. How does this apply to accounting? Well, leadership skills include the strategic thinking and planning that is required in accountancy in general. Being able to offer advice with confidence and certainty as well as providing well thought out solutions to any problems that arise. 

Writing Skills

Some writing skills are required in the accountancy industry, but may not be one that comes to mind when thinking of the profession. Whether it is the ability to write financial analyses, reports or other for clients and/or managers within the firm, a level of writing is required.

Having the skills to communicate findings and information clearly and concisely is an exceptional skill to have.