An accountant is the backbone of a business’s financial structure. Only using the best laptops is not enough for them. Accounting professionals are accountable for every single penny owned and owed by a company. They prepare meticulous records for every single transaction to help businesses break even and sustain profitability.
Most people believe that accountants prepare balance sheets and financial statements. But that’s not the culmination of their expertise and responsibilities. Accountants deal with taxation, legal compliance, and budgetary concerns that allow businesses to flourish and expand. These professionals stay abreast with technological trends to help enterprises to benefit from innovative financial tools.
In 2021, accountant roles and responsibilities are changing given the new functions and regulations. Technological advancements are changing how employers seek accounting specialists to achieve their financial goals. How can an accountant stand out this year and enjoy higher marketability? Keep reading to find out how you can sharpen your skills and polish your talents as an accountant.
1. ACADEMIC ADVANCEMENT & TRAINING
Today, accountants are competing against artificial intelligence (AI) and highly sophisticated software solutions. Why should a business hire an accountant when an AI-powered accounting software can perform the same functions? Accounting software and solutions are increasingly popular for they eliminate human error and allow superior efficiency.
Businesses hire accountants for human intelligence and expertise. Accountants bring in specialized skill sets that help organizations with financial planning, budgeting, forecasting, and taxation compliance. Accountants facilitate executive decision-making processes. However, these responsibilities are only for accountants who pursue advanced education and training.
An advanced degree enables accountants to increase their marketability and address the demands of modern-day employers. Today, it’s considerably easier to pursue an online masters in accounting with no GMAT requirements. Professionals can pursue academic advancement without leaving the security of a full-time job and open up career advancement opportunities without financial burdens.
2. TECH-SAVVINESS & INNOVATION
In the old days, accountants would sit at their desks and crunch numbers in enormous ledgers and scientific calculators. Those days are long gone because today, accountants work in digitally-powered workspaces. In 2021, the corporate landscape is increasingly unpredictable and abuzz with innovative technologies.
Accountants play pivotal roles in helping organizations implement and embrace the right financial tools to achieve productivity and efficiency. Accountants have to work with sophisticated software and tools to crunch numbers and pull financial insights. In recent years, accountants are more focused on pulling insights to support decision-making rather than balancing statements and cash flows. Accountants need to focus on strategizing, budgeting, planning, and managing financial resources to help businesses grow and enjoy sustainable profits.
As explained above, in 2021, employers are not overly focused on tangible skills. But instead, accountants with powerful personality traits, public speaking abilities, and financial planning are likely to stand out and get recruited.
3. EFFICIENT COMMUNICATION SKILLS
People wrongly assume that accountants don’t need communication skills since they remain glued to their desks. That’s a wrong assumption because accountants communicate with all employees across all departments. They are responsible for budgeting and approving budgets required by marketing, sales, PR, and other departments.
Accountants are continually communicating with colleagues, customers, suppliers, investors, vendors, shareholders, business associates, and other stakeholders. They actively engage in verbal and written communication, and their job responsibilities demand confident and efficient communication skills.
Accountants attend executive meetings to share financial insights and facilitate decision-making processes with strategic financial planning and forecasting. They also present insights to executive decision-makers regarding the feasibility of new products or expanding to a larger facility. Accountants communicate with a diverse array of stakeholders and must cultivate strong speaking skills to articulate effectively.
4. NETWORKING THE INDUSTRY
Much like any other professional, accountants must explore opportunities to build a network in the industry. Networking can open up scores of lucrative opportunities by keeping you abreast with industry innovations and advancements. If the goal is to stand out as an accountant, networking offers you opportunities to get noticed.
By attending industry seminars and accounting conferences, you can network with industry bigwigs, experts, and business owners. You can establish ties with accounting experts and authors of acclaimed books and benefit from mentorship opportunities. Networking events are an excellent opportunity to drop your business card and introduce yourself to people who matter.
You can also learn about exciting job openings and vacancies and explore career advancement opportunities. Be sure to sign up for accounting associations in your city, state, or country to attend such networking events.
5. CLIENT SERVICE & COMMUNICATION
Here’s another common misconception about accountants: they never deal with clients directly. That’s not true because, in recent years, client service has emerged as a prominent role for accountants.
Modern-day finance and accounting professions involve direct client engagement. Accountants who lack client service skills are at a natural disadvantage because businesses value their clients more than employees. It is crucial to cultivate client service skills to benefit clients with your expertise as an accountant.
The key is to work on language and communication so you can explain technical jargon in broad terms. Your expertise depends on how well you can help a client make financially savvier decisions. You can win over employees by resolving fiery issues, establishing trust with important clients, and assisting clients to achieve financial stability.
Winning conversations with clients is never easy. You know what they say, the client is always right, and proving otherwise is a hazard. Client service skills are an art that few can master. But if you do master these skills, they can help you increase your marketability tremendously.
Self-motivation is the most significant driving force that encourages all professionals to stay focused on their career goals. As an accountant, you must motivate yourself to perfect and sharpen your skills and continue advancing your expertise. Sign up for online courses and training programs, and attend workshops conducted by prestigious organizations. Academic advancement and career growth are always tied together!
Businesses are more likely to retain and promote employees who pursue advanced training and higher education. Accountants can excel in-demand skills by taking additional certifications from prestigious institutions. Experience and higher education allow accountants to start their consultancy services or work as a freelance professional.
It is crucial to map out a realistic and pragmatic journey to achieve the goals you envision as an accountant. You will have to put in the hard work and dedication to carve out the career and financial stability you desire.