Seven Skills You Need to be a Successful Accountant

Posted Friday, Jun 10, 2011 by Allen B. Ury

Young AccountantAre you considering a career in accounting? Like many people, you may think that accounting involves a little more than working through rows of numbers to determine a “bottom line.”

The seven basic skills you need to be a successful accountant include the following:

1) Math. Yes, first and foremost, you must be good with numbers, including addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, percentages and fractions. No calculus or trigonometry is needed, thank goodness. But a good handle on algebra is essential, as a lot of accounting involves problem solving.

2) Details. It helps for an accountant to have a touch of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Accounting is a very “micro” world, and you need to learn to sweat the small stuff. This is a field where even seemingly insignificant errors can come back to blow up in your face – or your client’s.

3) Memorization. Many people have compared accounting to law. There are a lot of concepts to master and formulas to memorize. Fortunately, once you’ve worked in accounting for several years, these concepts become second nature.

4) Research. Very often, the answer to a problem may lie beyond what you have already studied. In that case, you have to go look for it. Fortunately, research today is not nearly as difficult and frustrating as it was in the decades before the Internet. But you still need to know where to look and the proper questions to ask.

5) People. Although the popular image of accountants holds that they are dry, bland and humorless, having well-developed people skills is a must for success. First, it’s important you develop trust and rapport with the clients you serve. Second, people often become highly emotional when it comes to the subject of money – particularly their money – and to make sure your clients do the right things with it can often require a high degree of tact, nuance and diplomacy.

6) Speaking. Accounting is a precise science. When talking about your work, you need to be equally precise, specific and to-the-point. Your speech should be clear and informative with no room for ambiguities.

7) Writing. Not all of your communication is going to be face-to-face. Very often, you’ll have to put your thoughts, analyses and recommendations in writing. Therefore, it’s essential to be able to write in a style that is clear, confident and persuasive. As in law, much of your job involves making a case.

Earn Your Associate Degree in Accounting Online

Everest University Online, a division of Everest University, offers an associate degree in the Accounting program that can be completed in as little as two years. Designed for career-minded individuals who may already have a job or who are raising a family and don’t have time to go to a traditional ground school, Everest’s associate degree in Accounting program can provide you with the knowledge, skills, experience and support you need to begin or energize your accounting career.
Courses in the associate degree in Accounting program include:

  • Principles of Accounting (I& II)
  • Introductory Cost/Managerial Accounting
  • Introduction to Corporate Accounting
  • Computerized Accounting
  • Payroll Accounting
  • Tax Accounting
  • Introduction to Internet Research
  • Financial Statement Analysis
  • Applied Business Law

Everest classes are small to ensure you get the individual attention you may need. Instructors are industry professionals who emphasize hands-on learning with group projects and real-world scenarios. Graduates can also take advantage of Everest’s Career Services department, where representatives can help you find employment opportunities in the area.

Financial aid is available for those who qualify.

Ask for More Information

For more information on the associate degree in Accounting program and other degree programs you can earn online, contact Everest University Online today!

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program and other important information, please visit our website at

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