Soft skills are non-technical abilities that relate to professional work. They help you interact with clients and colleagues, solve work-related problems, and manage your time. Having these kinds of skills makes all work, including accounting, much easier.
Several soft skills are important for helping CPAs: planning and organization, business sense, communication skills, proficiency with technology, and leadership.
Planning And Organization
Some of the most necessary soft skills in accounting revolve around the CPAs’ ability to plan and organize their projects. Budgeting time for each task, tracking progress with time management tools and anticipating potential delays are all everyday tasks.
It’s more than just taking on multiple projects at a time, though; it’s about taking the right amount of work on at a time. Everyone learns that taking on too many tasks at once hurts the quality of their work, so you should train yourself to optimize your scheduling instead.
A keen understanding of how businesses operate can be optimal for CPAs developing strategies, influencing decisions, and working on cross-departmental projects within an organization. Understanding the corporate world helps a CPA see the fuller picture of the numbers they’re crunching, letting them get a sense of how their position affects their clients.
If you’re in the accounting profession, English may not have been your favourite subject. However, oral and written communication skills are useful in almost every profession, and a certain kind of communication is essential for accounting. CPAs should be able to tell what’s behind the numbers in ways that those unfamiliar with numbers can understand and digest. Whether it’s informing colleagues in other departments or explaining to clients who are unfamiliar with the jargon of accounting, communication skills are useful for succeeding in the accounting world.
Computer technology is always changing, and those in accounting positions often need to have strong skills with software and tech as it changes. Being proficient with a wide range of software programs like QuickBooks is a prerequisite in most cases, but the tech world is changing; cloud computing is also becoming popular in many accounting firms. Many clients look for accounting and finance professionals who are proficient in the latest accounting and software applications.
It’s always good to enjoy working with computers, but being open to learning how to use new technology is a positive attribute.
No matter where you are in the accounting world, initiative and decisiveness will take you far. You can quantify these as “leadership,” and this means knowing how to guide members of the team, create a consensus, and motivating colleagues so that projects can advance. It’s a valuable quality to have for moving upwards through the accounting world!
If you’re thinking of entering the accounting profession, think about the ways you can expand and improve on these soft skills. Network with other professionals, get up to speed on the latest accounting programs and find a planning regimen that works for you. Improving these soft skills can make you a more balanced and successful CPA!