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BS Accounting: Skills and Factors

In a previous article, I told the story of an accountant whom my former boss had hired to help us get our financial records in order.  As I observed her work, one question burned feverishly in my brain.

How does she do it?

I later learned that it takes a certain kind of person to become an accountant.  Let’s take a look at what kind of person this is.

The Numbers Game

Accountants eat numbers for breakfast.  Thus, it helps to be able to understand and interpret the language numbers to a comfortable degree.  Accuracy and organizational skills are also related to this—no one will hire an accountant who messes things up, as one teensy-weensy mistake can cost people a lot of money,

Believe it or not, accountants are also called upon to exercise their good judgment.  Certain sub-fields like collections and credit require the accountant to think critically and analytically.  It also helps if the accountants can communicate their thoughts clearly via speech or writing.

More of the Non-Quantifiables

At the end of the day, it’s the intangible qualities of the accountant that matter most—values like honesty, diplomacy and conscientiousness are in high demand.  Technical skills can be taught, but good attitudes and personalities are harder to come by.

It eventually dawned on me that my former boss hired the accountant primarily due to her personality, not so much her technical skills.  The auditor’s confident, yet mild-mannered nature made her a pleasure to work with, and that was a big thumbs-up in my boss’ book.

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