10 Chartered Accountant Skills for an Accounting Career
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published 20 April 2022
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Working as a chartered accountant can provide an opportunity to work in the financial industry and learn core financial principles. Chartered accountants typically possess core skills that help them analyse and organise financial information and operate the tools and software for the job. Understanding these skills can help you plan more appropriately for your career path, ensuring you possess the right skill set before applying for a job as a chartered accountant. In this article, we explore 10 core chartered accountant skills for your career and outline some strategies to effectively develop them.
10 chartered accountant skills for your career
Here are 10 of the core chartered accountant skills you may develop for a career in accounting:
1. Excellent numeracy skills
Chartered accountants work with numbers, requiring strong numeracy skills. Numeracy skills are abilities that allow the chartered accountant to apply complex mathematical principles to everyday life. This can include advanced algebra, formulas and other tools that accountants might use to track and manage the finances of an organisation. Accountants use mathematics to determine incomes, expenses, the differences between sets of numbers, trends in graphs or charts and taxation rates. Accountants typically learn their numeracy skills during their training and education, though some accountants may have natural abilities in mathematics they can expand on during their training.
2. Strong interpersonal skills
As an accountant, you typically work either as part of a team or as an independent contractor, both requiring frequent interactions with other people. Strong interpersonal skills can help you effectively communicate ideas and expectations and understand the expectations of others. Strong interpersonal skills can include the ability to listen effectively to other people, the ability to verbally or in written form. Interpersonal skills also include basic respect for others and their ideas and empathy or compassion to help understand people. Accountants typically develop these skills through practice and team-building exercises.
3. Robust software skills
Many businesses use computer software to track their financial records, as they can be less costly and take up less physical space. Accountants typically use various kinds of software to perform their jobs, including spreadsheet software, bookkeeping software, communication software and computer operating systems. This requires robust software skills and familiarity with common programs. Accountants use software to track and monitor company financials, file reports or draft documents for clients, create invoices for their services and track their work. Accountants typically learn their software skills during training and education and enhance them with practice.
4. Excellent organisational skills
Accountants often work with large data sets, which can require excellent organisational skills. The ability to organise their workspace, time and resources can be crucial to success in the field, as an organised accountant can provide more accurate data and earn their clients' trust. Organisational skills also include the ability to organise financial information into a readable format, like a balance sheet. Accountants often prepare internal documents for company executives to review, requiring organisation and translation of complex information. Accountants often learn their organisational skills during training but can enhance them once they start working in the field.
5. General business acumen
Accountants typically possess general business acumen. This is the ability to understand basic business operations and how the business uses its financial resources. This skill set can help accountants better understand why certain expenses are on the company's balance sheet and to provide general financial insight for company executives. Business acumen can also include an understanding of the company's internal structures, supply chain, availability of resources and the products or services the company provides. This familiarity can help accountants build trust with their employers. Most accountants learn their business acumen skills during training or education.
6. Strong problem-solving and analytical skills
Since accountants work with large, complex data sets, they use strong problem-solving and analytical skills to discover and correct errors, maximise the accuracy of their reports and present unique solutions to common challenges. Accountants determine if there are any errors or problems in the company's financial reports and review them with company executives. They can also help identify more serious challenges, like fraud. An accountant might provide helpful insight for company executives on how to reduce the company's core expenses and increase profit margins. Chartered accountants typically learn these skills through training, but some might have natural skills in problem-solving.
7. Excellent integrity and honesty
Since accountants work with sensitive financial information, integrity and honesty are often core requirements of the job. The ability to keep company information private and not use it to your advantage is critical because employers put an enormous amount of trust in their accountants. Building trust with your employer through continuous performance and honesty can help you earn a higher salary, gain more confidence in yourself and potentially increase your professional reputation. Chartered accountants often bring natural integrity and honesty to the position, which they can develop once they learn the nuances of the position.
Related: How to Become a Freelance Accountant
8. Strong self-determination
Accountants might work for an employer or as self-employed contractors. Either employment arrangement typically requires strong self-determination and confidence to encourage growth and professional development. Self-determination is an ability that can help accountants self-motivate, self-regulate and pursue opportunities as they arise. Accounting professionals with strong self-determination skills, for example, may pursue a career as chartered accountants with large multi-national corporations. By becoming more skilled and competitive in their industry, accountants can cultivate self-determination, which leads to confidence and determination.
9. Adequate teamwork skills
Chartered accountants might work as part of an accounting team for a large company or financial firm, which requires teamwork skills. Working as part of a team can be a great way to develop professional skills, increase professional networks and establish long-lasting relationships. Teamwork skills can also help facilitate collaboration, which might be necessary to solve unique or difficult challenges at work. In the same way that interpersonal skills are significant, teamwork skills include the ability to collaborate with others, accept criticism, and contribute to a group. They can learn these skills through group projects.
10. Legal skills
Chartered accountants have a firm understanding of tax codes and other legalities associated with managing a business's finances. These skills help them keep their clients in compliance with the law, potentially avoiding fees or litigation as a result of non-compliance. Legal skills can include familiarity with legal practices and requirements, the ability to complete and file legal paperwork, serving as an expert witness in court litigation and offering compliance guidance and insight to company executives. Chartered accountants typically learn their legal skills during their education.
How to develop your accounting skills
Here are some steps to follow to develop your skills as a chartered accountant:
1. Embrace technology
As technology advances, many industries evolve to effectively utilise new tech. In accounting, technology like artificial intelligence, data analytics and cloud computing can change the way accountants perform their jobs. It's important to embrace and learn to use technology to retain a competitive advantage as a job candidate and enhance your skill set. Employers might prefer candidates with extensive technical skills.
2. Work with others
One of the best ways to enhance your accounting skills is to work with and learn from others. Consider opportunities to work as part of a team or an apprenticeship as a potential entry into the career field. Experienced accountants can show you the nuances of the job that otherwise might require years of experience to learn. You can also create long-lasting relationships and expand your professional network by working with other accountants or financial professionals.
3. Earn certifications
In Singapore, the Singapore Accountancy Commission, or SAC, oversees accounting certifications, standards and professional development. To work as a chartered accountant, candidates earn their Singapore CA Certification from the SAC. The SAC offers many other resources to increase your accounting skill set and connect you with the right training organisations. Consider using these resources to earn additional credentials and experience in the field.
4. Earn a master's degree
After you establish professional connections, earn certifications and embrace technology, you can further expand your knowledge and skills by pursuing a graduate degree in accounting, such as a master's degree. This kind of degree expands on your base accounting knowledge and can make you a more competitive job candidate. Some employers don't hire accountants unless they possess a CA certification and a master's degree, so earning a master's can grant you access to unique job opportunities.
Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.
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