Non-Accounting Skills Successful Accountants Need to Have

By Frank Wdowczyk, CPA, CGA

Frank, Senior Recruitment Partner at Clarity Recruitment, has over eight years of practical accounting experience, and seven years as a finance recruiter.

He lends his extensive expertise to finance professionals across the GTA.

In my role as Senior Candidate Partner at Clarity Recruitment I’m often asked to give new accountants advice about their career.  One question that keeps coming up is what non-accounting skills does a candidate need to be successful?

Having worked as a professional accountant in small and large organizations and having interviewed hundreds of accountants as a recruiter, I have seen a number of critical non-accounting skills that accountants need to succeed.

Exceptional Communication

Virtually all designated accountants have basic communication skills.  The ability to present ideas and thoughts clearly and concisely is required to complete most professional programs.  However, in order to progress in your career, exceptional communication skills are needed.

While accountants may speak a common finance language to one another, the trouble can begin when accountants try speaking debits and credits to non-accountants.  This means a successful accountant must have the ability to communicate and share information in a way that ensures their audience understands. The best accountants have a way of sharing important information even with the most finance-illiterate people in their organizations.

Sheer Determination

To some extent, determination and the ability to work hard is something that all accountants possess. Regardless of the specific accounting program you have chosen, many people wouldn’t finish without determination.

Beyond the books, determination is also required in the workplace. Your ability and desire to not only complete your work, but also go the extra mile is what helps separate a good accountant from a great accountant.

Flexibility

If you are looking to simply do the tasks outlined in your job description, a career in accounting probably isn’t for you.  Accountants have to be perpetually flexible when it comes to their job.  Think about it. Everything from reception to IT to HR to security and maintenance have a dollar amount associated with them.  While your role may have a specific focus, all parts of a business are related to accounting in some respects. This means you must be willing to embrace new opportunities or tasks.

By no means should the above mentioned be considered a complete list of the non-accounting skills needed to be a successful accountant.  In fact, it’s simply the beginning.