Certified Public Accountants or CPAs are highly respected professionals. This group of elite accountants don’t just earn well, they are also considered to be extremely ethical in their work. They have earned the respect and admiration of society as a whole. However, as with any other career path there are some CPAs who are good and others who are considered great. So, how does one stand out in the crowd? What skills can help a CPA achieve the next level of professional respect? We at Orbit Institutes take a look.
Organizational & Time Management Skills: CPAs need to have immense information about their clients. They also need to be able to access this information quickly and efficiently. The less time they spend on accessing the information, the more time they can spend on research and strategy. Time is of essence in the world of accounting. Businesses make important decisions on the basis of the information a CPA provides. Information received too late can impact the future of the company. Therefore a good CPA should have excellent organizational & time management skills.
An Eye for Detail: This is perhaps the most obvious skill for a CPA or any accountant to have. However, students should assess themselves early on and understand if they truly possess this skill or not. CPAs need to read numbers and information in detail, all the time. Even if one has an eye for detail, they need to see if they can maintain it consistently.
Communication Skills: Those who believe that accountants stay buried behind a stack of papers, not having to communicate with the rest of the world; cannot be more wrong. CPAs need to communicate effectively not just with their clients but also with other departments within a business. CPAs must therefore be able to explain financial details in a clear & simple manner to non-finance professionals. For this reason they must have both effective presentation & communication skills.
Leadership Skills: All qualified CPAs have accountancy skills but very few have leadership skills. CPAs are required to drive financial decisions for companies. They must therefore gain the trust of their employers/clients. Leadership skills allow CPAs to think strategically & implement decisions effectively with the rest of the team. Many CPAs are known to take an additional course in management or a related field.
Technical Skills: Almost all accounting is now conducted electronically. While CPAs don’t need to be tech wizards, they do need be extremely comfortable using a variety of accounting software. Businesses are constantly changing the software they use, and a CPA today needs to be able to adapt to these changes. Advanced Microsoft Excel skills are a must since this software is used almost globally.
An Understanding of Business: Companies range in size, structure & business model. A good CPA needs to have a strong grasp on how different businesses operate. Only then will they be able to provide useful financial guidance. Additionally, as CPAs grow in their careers, top-management further relies on them to make financial decisions at the macro-level. Their understanding of the business at the micro-level will help them gain perspective and give valuable insights at the macro-level.
The Ability to be Creative: Though, creativity is not something people usually associate with the practice of accounting; it is extremely important. Accountancy is a dynamic field. Almost every challenge is unique. While CPAs are usually very comfortable with structure, they need to have the ability to view problems differently. Creative CPAs are more adept at embracing change & providing clients with innovative solutions.
Abreast With the Times: The world of finance is consistently changing in a variety of ways be it legally or operationally. As with any other profession, a good CPA needs to be aware of these changes at all times. Most CPAs spend a large amount of time attending seminars and additional courses. Often employers encourage their CPAs to study the latest trends.
As you can see, being a good CPA requires an individual to go beyond their curriculum. One needs to have a proactive approach & the desire for continued learning. We at Orbit Institutes work towards providing students with an environment where personal development flourishes.