Monday might see you presenting to management on the financial state of the organisation, Tuesday you could be working with the marketing department to pull together the annual report, and Wednesday you’re reviewing the details of an important contract.
But no matter how you’ll be spending your days, there are a number of soft skills you need to be proficient in to succeed in the world of accounting.
Sweat the small stuff
When a decimal point in the wrong place could spell financial disaster for a client, an accountant’s laser-like focus and inquisitive mind can save the day.
Successful accountants have fantastic attention to detail and prioritise quality, whether completing their own work or reviewing others’. Experienced accountants know what to look for and where mistakes might commonly occur.
Fortunately for those just starting out, attention to detail is something you can improve through practice. Start by putting good habits in place like eliminating distractions, taking regular breaks, and allowing yourself enough time to double check your work.
Decode the jargon
No man is an island, and that’s especially true for modern accountants. Whether you’re working in-house or at an accounting firm, you’ll be working closely with clients who may not have your financial know-how. Do you know every term in our glossary?
Being able to translate accounting concepts and findings into Plain English for your clients will really give you a leg-up in your career. Consider the accounting literacy of your client, how many technical terms you use in conversation, and the complexity of your message.
Taking the time to ensure your client understands your advice will also help you build rapport and a trusting, open relationship; potentially for many years to come.
You could be the best accountant in the world, but if you don’t present professionally and capably you might be missing out on your full career potential. This is true for all professions, but especially in accounting as clients must put so much trust into your skills.
Show your clients you mean business with a proactive and positive demeanour. Dress the part and err on the side of formality when communicating with clients, particularly in the early days of the relationship. Check, double check and triple check your work. You’ll be climbing the corporate ladder in no time!
What else do I need?
Of course, the number one thing you need to get started in accounting is a qualification! Australia has a large number of Registered Training Organisations offering courses in accounting to help you get a foot in the door.