If you are seeking a promotion, you need more than great accounting skills. Many employers are now looking for mid-level and senior accountants with the soft skills necessary for success in a competitive environment. If you don't have these soft skills, you may have a hard time moving beyond entry-level jobs in the field. Make yourself more employable by supplementing your accounting skills with the personal attributes most desired by hiring managers.
Mid-level and senior accountants must have influencing skills to succeed. Once you are promoted, you must be able to persuade executives and other decision makers to look at things from a financial perspective. If an executive is excited about acquiring a company that seems like a bad risk, for example, you must be able to use financial statements and hard facts to persuade the executive to pursue a different course of action.
Excellent communication skills are critical for every accountant. You will likely need to communicate with department heads and employees who don't have much accounting knowledge, so you need to be able to explain financial concepts in simple terms. When a new employee comes on board, your accounting skills aren't as important as your ability to put the employee at ease, explain the company's financial procedures and make sure the worker understands established policies for cash handling, budgeting and financial forecasting.
Adaptability is also a desirable addition to your basic accounting skills. Accountants must adapt to evolving industry regulations, particularly in the investing and banking industries. You must be able to change course quickly any time there are new laws or regulations pertaining to your industry. If your company has a lot of competitors, you also need to be able to adapt to strategic changes implemented by executives. If you do not have the ability to adapt to new situations, you may find it difficult to excel in an upper-level accounting position.
Crisis management is another desirable skill for accountants who have spent years developing their accounting skills. Business emergencies often come up at the most inconvenient times, such as the last day of the quarter when you are busy preparing reports and quarterly financial statements. You need to be able to respond to these emergencies quickly and calmly, or there is a risk your department will lose important financial data. Your ability to manage a crisis also plays a role in whether you will be able to retain your most valuable employees.
If you are ready for a promotion, you must work on developing skills that will help you advance your career. Communication skills, adaptability, crisis management skills and the ability to influence others are all very desirable for an accountant. Instead of focusing solely on your accounting skills, take the time to complete training programs related to these attributes. Your new skills will help you impress potential employers and improve your chances of being promoted.
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