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16 May 2021

Tell the story behind the numbers

Geoff Pacecca

Accounting goes beyond assets and balance sheets, invoices, and financial statements. The evolution of technology coupled with an increasingly competitive business landscape has changed the role of a ‘traditional’ accountant. Now, more than ever, accountants play a highly strategic role and can translate numbers into insights that have a significant impact on a business’s decision making. Read on to discover some of the skills you might find on an accountant’s CV.

In-demand accountant skills

Tell the story behind the numbers

Effective accountants can clearly and succinctly communicate the state of a business’s financial accounts to help inform important decisions. Strong communication skills are critical. The ability to effectively convey insights and data to executive teams and stakeholders who may be unfamiliar with accounting jargon and principles is a highly sought-after skill.

Take a customer-centric approach to solving problems

Accountants need to understand client needs, provide insights, and offer advice that add value to their business and help organisations achieve their short and longer-term goals. They need to possess the ability to empathise, collaborate, influence, and build trust with clients to create business relationships that extend beyond financial transactions.

Leverage emerging technology

With more finance departments moving from a reporting-focused to an analytics-centric function, embracing new tools and technology is key to getting ahead. Knowledge of business intelligence software, data analytics expertise, advanced excel skills, and experience with cloud computing will make you more competitive in the marketplace.

Customer relationship management tools (CRM) are increasingly commonplace, too. They’re used to improve collaboration and communication with stakeholders, both inside and outside their department or organisation.

Uncover patterns and trends in data

Data drives business decisions. Accountants who can provide in-depth analysis, identify underlying trends and risks and bring anomalies to the surface faster, can give their clients a better, more competitive advantage. Advanced Excel skills are essential as is the ability to look at big sets of data to generate reports that add value to their clients and organisation.

Demonstrate business acumen

Whether you’re a practising accountant, business adviser or assurance consultant, having broad knowledge of the environment you’re operating in is critical. When you can see the big picture and understand how each functional area operates and works together, you’re able to contribute to the business on a more strategic level – whether it be by improving internal processes or finding cost-saving opportunities.

The accounting profession is in an accelerating state of disruption. Technology and globalisation are the two biggest drivers, translating to a more competitive employment landscape. Professionals who possess digital technology skills and have the ability stay on top of industry trends are in high demand..”

Chris Hooper, CEO Accodex
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