When it comes to accounting jobs and promotions, it's a buyer's market. Hiring managers and recruiters know the characteristics of an accountant they're looking for, and they're not afraid to wade through piles of resumes until they find a candidate who displays them. Here are four traits you need to possess if you hope to land a job or get promoted in the accounting industry.
Integrity: Although the technical skills for accounting are important, having a strong sense of personal and professional integrity is at the top of the list of essential characteristics of an accountant. The news is filled with accounting scandals involving companies getting creative with financial reports and other shenanigans. Doing your job with integrity will keep you, your clients, and the firm you work for out of trouble with the law.
Attention to detail: Accounting is a lot like neurosurgery in one sense—one wrong move, and the patient could die. In the case of accounting, missing details can cost your clients millions of dollars or land them on the wrong side of IRS audits. For that reason, having a good eye for detail is one of the most important characteristics of an accountant. Being detail oriented also includes maintaining accuracy in your work, so be certain to check and recheck your work as many times as needed to make sure it's right.
Communication skills: In today's collaborative environment, it's highly likely you will work as part of an accounting team. Even if you're a solo player, you'll still be required to connect with clients, supervisors, and other people who need access to the work you're doing. You must be capable of explaining issues and ideas clearly, both verbally and in writing. It also helps to be personable and approachable, particularly if you're hoping to move up the corporate ladder. Being a good communicator is one of the required characteristics of an accountant in management.
Leadership abilities: At times, you'll be called upon to take the lead on projects. You must be willing and able to keep your team on track to obtain the desired outcome. Being a leader also means spotting opportunities and taking advantage of them. For example, imagine a client mentions changing the business structure to hire additional employees. This would be a good time to suggest the firm's payroll services to the client.
While you may have the technical skills for accounting that ensure you can do the job, you need these four characteristics of an accountant to impress a recruiter enough to consider you for the position. Design your resume so that it clearly demonstrates you have the characteristics of an accountant companies want, and you may obtain the dream job you've been searching for.
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