Key Skills Required To Succeed As An Accountant

While the start of chartered accounting, as a profession, dates back to early nineteenth-century Scotland, accountancy as a necessity of business hails from the times of the ancient Sumerians. Many clay tablets, from around 3000 BCE, that scholars have deciphered to give us clear evidence that the first forms of writing were about the keeping of accounts for crops, herds, metals and other tradable commodities of the time.

So, accounting has been with us since the dawn of civilization and has always been a key function of the organisation, which has helped us to have more control over our direction as a progressive, intelligent species.

The double-entry system of book-keeping was introduced by a Franciscan friar, Luca Pacioli, in the 15th century and the forming of professional bodies of chartered accountants became a big thing in the late 19th century. Expensive schooling in mathematics and commerce were the requirements to become an accountant in those times, but a quick look at Maryville University’s Blog and you will see how different things are these days. Here below, we have compiled a list of the key skills needed to begin your studies in the fascinating field of accounting.

High Level Of Numeracy

The love of numbers can lead to the understanding of the many worlds within our own, and accountants need to keep track of it all. The first and most essential skill every accountant should have is a natural understanding of mathematics. While some of us simply find maths almost a dreaded subject choice, accountants are able to understand advanced math problems with a lot more ease than the average person.

Business Acumen

A sharp business mind is made even more astute when schooled in accounting and without it, many a fortune would never have been made. Accountants are usually tasked with the responsibility of promoting financial health and growth withing businesses, which is why you should develop business acumen. Some for the responsibilities include prepare and examine financial records; make sure that the tax returns are paid on time…for which you’ll also need to have an idea on how taxes changed this year and the how it was in the year before.


As W. Horman said in the 15th century, “Manners maketh man.” The very character of an individual is shaped by their moral basis and a desire for more noble ethics. Morality is not a luxury. When it comes to managing large financials for successful businesses and individuals, integrity becomes an essential skill. Many young accountants often find it somewhat challenging to be responsible for funds that are not nearly comparable to their own.

Introspective Capacity

Being able to review your own work is an essential tool for all accountants, and projecting, as for financial forecasts, is a skill that needs a good capacity for reflecting. Introspective capacity is a skill that will be developed and fine-tuned over time.

Interpersonal Skills

Unless you want to be the old accounts guy in the backroom -like in some 70’s gangster film- you’re going to need good communication skills. The ability to converse with people in a friendly and helpful way is essential.

IT Proficiency

While accountants might use mostly basic mathematics, they don’t use the Abacus anymore. The more proficient you are at operating PC software, like apps, the better off you are at the start. It would be a great idea to find and navigate accounting software and accounting apps for businesses as the use of IT is essential for accountants in today’s day and age.

Problem Solving Skills

Effective problem solving relies on creativity, researching ability, decision making and very often some teamwork. Emotional intelligence is also a key factor. Even though some may assume that balancing financials may be simple, many problems can arise in the world of accounting, which is why problem-solving should be a notable skill. You will also need to use problem-solving abilities to identify room for improvement when it comes to working as an accountant for businesses or even individuals.

Analytically Minded

Being able to comprehend and then analyse statistical data is a big part, and plays a role in all aspects of accounting. This is because accounting is by no means a creative industry but rather, purely analytical.

Organisational Ability

Having a healthy drive for organisational accuracy will greatly help the aspiring accountant. Starting and finishing everything in an organised fashion is the heartbeat of accounting. Neglecting organization routines can cause havoc when working as an accountant in the corporate world.

Teamwork Capacity

While not all accountants necessarily work in large teams, every accountant is always part of a team in the place where they work. Therefore, being a good team player will benefit the accountant and the company greatly.