5 Characteristics of a Successful Accountant
- Strong Interpersonal Communication
- Attention to Detail
- Continuous Learning
- Strong Ethics
The common characteristics of an accountant are important to know for anyone who is considering a future in this line of work. Students with these traits are likely to excel at this profession while students who don’t may need to focus on building them up. The following are five traits all accountants should have.
1. Strong Interpersonal Communication
Accountants spend a lot of time alone, working on budgets, reports, tax returns and other financial documents. However, it is also important for them to have excellent interpersonal communication skills. Accountants work with business owners, private individuals and other organizations to manage finances. They must be able to discuss financial matters, give advice and report results to individuals who are not accountants. Giving reports requires the ability to communicate well in writing and in presentations at meetings. They also must be able to ask the right questions and gather facts to do their work correctly.
2. Attention to Detail
Accountants need to have exceedingly good attention to detail in order to be thorough in their work. Missing a single expense or entering an incorrect amount could throw things off significantly. The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that among common characteristics of an accountant is the need to consider all relevant tax information to ensure taxes are filed correctly and tax liability for their clients is minimized. They also must be able to notice any inaccuracies, inconsistencies or wrongdoings in financial documents upon review.
3. Continuous Learning
Like most professionals, accountants need to have a strong desire to keep learning throughout their careers. Tax codes and technology, in particular, change very quickly, and accountants need to keep up with it all to provide the best service to their clients and advice to their managers. They also need to stay aware of emerging trends and ways of doing things in the industry. Accountants who don’t will not be attractive to private clients or employers. Some employers will provide continuing education opportunities, while accountants who work for themselves must evolve on their own to remain competitive in the business. They also need to be open to learning new processes and ways of doing things that increase the accuracy and security of sensitive information.
4. Strong Ethics
Accounting is a field that requires its workers to adhere to a strong code of ethics. Accounting fraud is a significant problem that can ruin businesses and lives, in addition to being a crime. In fact, many accountants even work as forensic accountants, working as a part of law enforcement to investigate financial crimes. Accountants need to adhere to strong ethical guidelines and never perpetrate or participate in fraud. A track record of integrity will make an accountant more trustworthy in the eyes of clients and employers and function as a critical part of their professional reputation.
It should go without saying that accountants need to prioritize accuracy. A single inaccuracy could cause significant issues, such as budget totals not being correct or a tax return being rejected. Double-checking one’s own work should be practiced in addition to having a system where multiple accountants review items. Accountants who work for themselves should consider investing in Errors and Omissions insurance for this reason – a specialty type of liability insurance that safeguards against claims that might arise from innocent mistakes.
Related Resource: 30 Best Online Bachelor’s in Accounting
Accountants must be detail-oriented, disciplined, ethical, accurate and more. Their work plays a critical role in business organizations and the lives of common citizens. These common characteristics of an accountant are needed in the industry and should be developed by all students looking to enter the profession.