Top skills you need to pursue a career in accounting

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Accountants rely on specific skills to do their jobs effectively. Some of these abilities are especially important, whether they’re associated with technical proficiency, communication, managing workflows, or another critical aspect of the job. Understanding the most important attributes of the accounting profession and honing them through education and experience is important for long-term viability in this field.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham is proud to offer students the opportunity to earn an accounting degree online that helps them better understand the crucial abilities needed for the professional roles they’ll seek out after graduation. Let’s look at some of the most important skills accountants use on a daily basis.

In-demand accounting skills

Profession-specific abilities

Perhaps the most obvious and most critical set of attributes accountants need relate to the substance of their daily duties. A good accountant can review budgets, records, and other associated financial information, identify and gather relevant information, put it into the right context, and conduct an analysis that leads to a specific conclusion. These skills require a solid educational foundation. Abilities related to financial accounting, cost accounting, use of digital accounting systems, income taxation, and other common tasks for professionals are vital. UAB provides students in the Bachelor of Science in Accounting degree program with 21 credit hours focused on the profession through the Accounting Core component, building the accounting-specific skills that students need to compete in the professional world.

Communication skills

Communication is a vital ability across the global economy, regardless of specific role or seniority. For accountants, effective communication is especially important. In many instances, an accountant is the link between the pieces of crucial information contained in large, complicated budgets and the decision-makers who operate a company. Without the talent of effective, context-appropriate communication, it’s nearly impossible to take detailed analysis and share it in a way that makes sense to those who have a limited knowledge of accounting. Accountants have to understand the power of effective writing and speech. They must make sure they can adjust their approach to each to provide their audience with useful information in the correct context. UAB helps students develop these skills throughout their classes, with additional focus on such abilities provided through the Business Communications course.

Technology skills

The modern economy thrives due to technology, and accounting is no exception. Digital systems have replaced paper-based review, auditing, and analysis processes, and communication in general can largely take place through group chat programs, text messages, and emails. Accountants have to have a firm grasp on the basic suite of programs used in professional settings — word processing applications, email clients, and the like — as well as the tools specific to their profession. They must also be comfortable using and learning how to interface with new database, enterprise resource planning, and business intelligence systems. In many cases, accountants will extract some of the information they need to complete their duties from such systems. UAB gives students an introduction to this aspect of the field through part of the Accounting Information Systems course focused on the development of information technology.

Cooperation and sharing responsibilities

Some accountants take on tasks largely or wholly by themselves. For example, it’s not uncommon for a single Certified Public Accountant to handle the preparations of a tax return for an individual from start to finish. This isn’t the case for all such tasks, however. Accountants may find themselves working together on a complicated audit or review of recent transactions, or when preparing tax documents for a larger business or an individual with needs more complicated than the average taxpayer.

Whether handling different parts of a project side by side or completing a certain amount of work and handing the project off to another accountant for their input, there are many instances where successfully working together is a foundational element of completing a task. Communication is a major part of cooperation, but accountants must also recognize how to define their part of the work in the context of the larger project, recognize responsibilities and be sensitive to their own deadlines for completion and that of the larger effort. Courses throughout the Bachelor of Science in Accounting program help students better understand how to collaborate and cooperate.

Developing vital accounting skills at UAB

UAB gives students the chance to learn how to be an effective accountant through a flexible program that allows students to receive a high-quality education at their own pace. Earning an accounting degree online can give learners the chance to incorporate their undergraduate career into their other existing personal and professional responsibilities. To learn more, speak with an advisor today.

Recommended Readings:
Accounting principles you can learn in the UAB Bachelor of Science in Accounting program
A career in auditing: What it could look like for you

UAB Collat School of Business: Bachelor of Science in Accounting
UAB Collat School of Business: Course Descriptions BACC
O*Net Online: Accountants