6 must-have skills for CPAs

6 must-have skills for CPAs

Posted by  on 29 November, 2016  5 minute read

 The profession of accounting is highly competitive. Not only this, it is taxing, highly demanding and well, let’s not even talk about the numerous risks involved. Since CPAs and EAs manage company or individual finances, the intensity of their responsibilities increases manifold.

To succeed as an accountant or someone who is running an accounting firm, it is important to inculcate several must-have skills. Have a look:

1. Organizational skills
CPAs and EAs are important people. They have to keep a track of client portfolios, transactions made or to be made, important tax dates, etc. There is so much to do! Naturally, there are more chances of them faltering in their tasks or missing out on crucial submission dates.

They should use calendars, day planners, highlighters and color-coded post-it notes to stay organized. Tools such as Trello, Evernote and Slack are also helpful in planning days in advance. If they are well-organized, it is easier to come across as competent and reliable.

2. Adaptability
The accounting industry is dynamic in nature. Therefore, it is important for CPAs to bend any new development to their advantage. If they feel helpless every time a tax law gets updated, they won’t be able to provide their clients the service they actually deserve. CPAs should consider every day as a challenge and hence, adapt to changes faster.

3. Time management skills
The ability to work around deadlines and re-prioritize to-do lists is stressful especially for accountants. But competing for priorities and juggling myriad tasks is just a part and parcel of being an accountant. Therefore, it is essential for all CPAs and EAs to manage their time properly.

4. Mentorship
Everyone from any profession or industry can be a good mentor, provided they are approachable and take responsibility for their tasks. Similarly, CPAs should be ever ready to help out junior or budding accountants with their work.

Moreover, CPAs are strategic thinkers and they can’t be good at it if they are unable to envision or think forward. So to give individual advice or consult companies with strategic solutions, they should be able to think objectively. They won’t be able to mentor anyone if they don’t have a calm demeanor or when they can’t think strategically.

5. Honesty
CPAs can’t be seen as trusted working professionals until they are completely transparent while making decisions and giving advice with a motive to better relationships at work. Transparency in thoughts and actions helps to create an environment which is respectful and collaborative. Many CPAs work in big teams so the importance of being honest can’t be ignored.

6. Communication skills
A clichéd skill but a very important one - we can’t stress enough on the ability to communicate clearly and concisely. Whether it is regarding imparting new tax changes or explaining tax rules to the clients or sharing a new idea with seniors – if CPAs can’t communicate, they will have a problem sooner or later at work.

These aforementioned skills apply to every industry or function, only the situations may change for CPAs.