The Key Qualities of a Good Accountant

Chomwa Shikati
Aug 18, 2017 · 4 min read

Accountants manage a lot of responsibility in an organisation, so it’s safe to say they are important people. An honest mistake made by an accountant such as adding or omitting a single digit to a set of numbers can have a huge impact on how accounting books will look like and on the decision making process .

Therefore, the accountant needs to possess certain qualities that will make him exceptional and effective in performing his duties. Identifying these key qualities can lead to success on the job, increase job satisfaction and make it easier for you to build a firm foundation toward your long –term career goals. This begs the question ‘what are these qualities that make a great accountant?’ Take a look at this list.

Detail- Oriented. Needless to say the information provided needs to be accurate and correct to the last digit. A good accountant pays attention to detail and needs to be able to do this ALL the time. This quality should be second nature to an accountant and not something he can switch on and off. If you make even simple mistakes very often, you’ll end up with unhappy clients, and your boss probably won’t be very happy with you either.

An accountant should have good Mathematical skills. If you want to be a great accountant you have to love the numbers, if you don’t you probably won’t like your job. Although ‘basic accounting’ does not have complex mathematical formulas, you will be dealing with money. And if you cost your client money because your Math is off and terrible, nobody will be happy with your work or will even want you.

Adaptable. An adaptable person is highly likely to learn and grow in their careers because they see each new challenge as an opportunity to learn and test their skills. The accounting industry is quite dynamic and challenging, if you have the ability to adapt quickly and think of solutions that can fit the situation quickly, you’ll be at a distinct advantage.

Trust worthy. The work of an accountant is confidential and that is why a good accountant will maintain confidentiality at all times when it is required. Being trustworthy is ethical and maintaining a reputation for being trustworthy will build long term healthy relationships with your employers and clients. Many accountants work on larger teams, so the importance of being trusted can’t be overstated. Get into the habit of thinking about the consequences of your actions each time you have to make a big decision.

Time management. As an accountant, you’ll need to manage a lot of tasks and deal with decision making procedures — while having to complete everything on time. Key strategic decisions are made on financial information produced by the accountant; if this information is not produced at the right time then it might be rendered irrelevant and sometimes may warrant penalties. A good accountant needs to create a structured system that will allow everything to be done and submitted on time. The ability to work within deadlines and to continually re-prioritize your to-do list will take you far.

Communication Skills. An accountant should be able to interpret and communicate effectively the complicated accounting concepts to individuals who don’t understand the financial language but need it for decision making purposes. An accountant that is able to interact easily and get their ideas across clearly to anyone is a major asset that clients and employers always look for. Being able to communicate well in writing and in person will also help you to get a job, work as a team with your colleagues, interact with clients and, with time, advance professionally.

Committed to improving. They are changes in tax laws, advancement in technologies and revision in standards. An accountant must stay abreast with all of these. Attending conferences and seminars will help you to stay up to date. An accountant with the quality of constantly improving will be better than others and will stay ahead in the accounting industry.

Becoming exceptional in the accounting industry requires enormous effort and you need to possess the ability of cultivating exceptional skills — you need to be able to show your clients that you’re working to improve their present and future.

Do you feel like cultivating these qualities will make you a better accountant or do you disagree? Share your thoughts and additions in the comment section below or if you want to contact me shoot me an email at cshikati@gmail.com.

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