Professional accountants and those studying to enter the profession, already know many of the core accounting skills essential for success.

They include:

  • Math skills. You wouldn’t be an accountant if you didn’t have these
  • Analytical skills. The ability to see a problem, identify its cause and suggest solutions
  • Detail orientation. Few professionals work in an area that demands more precision attention to detail than accountants

Mastery of those three skills alone go a long way to making a good accountant. But for those seeking a Master of Science in Accounting who aspire to leadership, being good is just the beginning. To succeed at the highest levels of accounting, professionals should develop accounting skills in the following areas.

Business Knowledge

While core skills are key to making a good accountant, the role of accountants in recent years has expanded into decision-making and strategic planning. Understanding how accounting fits into the overall operation is a key component of the job for leaders in the field, according to Blackline Magazine.

Developing business knowledge makes an accountant a specialist in a particular field. An accountant who understands the finely grained nuances of an industry is going to be highly valued by an employer.

As stated by Blackline, contributing to business strategy “requires more than just an understanding of the numbers. Accountants also need to understand the business as a whole.”

Tech Skills

Widespread use of technology has impacted the accounting profession. One of the primary ways is through the emergence of accounting automation software that handles routine number-crunching duties.

Automation may also handle invoicing, document storage, data collection and generating reports. Tech tools that accountants should know include the following, according to consultants Robert Half.

  • Excel (at an advanced level)
  • SAP
  • Oracle
  • SQL
  • Big data analysis and advanced data modeling techniques
  • Business intelligence software

Soft Skills For Accountants

According to Robert Half and, another area that adds to the chances of success for accountants is that of soft skills, particularly for those who aspire to leadership.

  • Communication. The ability to clearly and concisely make even those with limited accounting skills understand you, both verbally and in writing.
  • Empathy. This comes into play in a variety of ways, especially when dealing with clients in tough financial situations who must make difficult choices.
  • Creativity. Finding new ways to tackle old challenges.
  • Customer service. In some cases, accountants may focus on both retaining current clients and attracting new ones to a firm. Accountants also work closely with leaders in other departments. All this requires strong customer service skills.
  • Discretion. Accountants who work with company funds need a highly developed sense of discretion and confidentiality.

The demand for qualified accounts will only grow in the coming years. Earning a master’s degree can maximize your knowledge in the field and build strengths in these three vital areas.