Deciding on a career is not something you take lightly. After all, you need to invest in training – and you’re making a long-term commitment to the field. Although you can learn many of the skills needed to perform an entry-level accounting job in school, there’s more to the profession than that. Do you have the personal traits necessary to have a career in accounting?
If you think you want to study accounting, you probably enjoy working with numbers. If not, you’re definitely thinking of the wrong field. The other requirements are a little subtler. These are some traits you should have if you want to work in the accounting field:
- Organize well. Every company, regardless of its size, requires accounting personnel to manage its bookkeeping, handle payroll and maintain account data. There are lots of responsibilities that will keep you busy every day, and you need to establish an effective system to track those responsibilities. As a member of an accounting team, you need to be very well organized so that you can find files and answer questions.
- Manage your time. This skill goes hand in hand with organization. You may have an organized filing system, but if you don’t know how to prioritize your duties, you are not going to make it. You’re going to be very busy, and many people will rely on you. Managing your time will keep stress at bay and let you contribute to your company’s day-to-day operations – and long-term goals.
- Communicate with others. Accountants may have been misrepresented as employees who sit quietly in their cubicles and work only with numbers – not with people. This is a big misconception. You have to deal with clients and colleagues every day and be able to explain a variety of documents: tax returns, financial data analyses, loan details, payroll information and more. It’s critical for you to communicate and collaborate key insights and interpret data. Knowing how to communicate with clients is also a way to instill trust.
- Focus on details. Working with numbers requires diligence and paying attention to detail. Just one transposed or forgotten number could result in horrific mistakes. If you think something is slightly off, you’re going to get down to the nitty gritty to find the error and correct the miscalculation. You’re probably a bit of a perfectionist.
- Display honesty and integrity. You play by the rules – even when you don’t agree with them. Because an accounting professional is responsible for a company’s financial records as well as its financial well-being, you need to be honest and show integrity. Having access to such important documents requires strong ethics.
- Collaborate with others. You need to be a team player when you work in accounting because you will need to support different departments. That requires you to work toward common goals with all kinds of people.
- Solve problems by taking a methodical approach. If you think there may be an error in a file or calculation, you need to revert back to your math skills of “proofing” to find the error. Having a system of checks and balances in place and taking a methodical approach can help you find a solution to your problem.
- Be flexible. Embrace change and know how to adapt your skills and work to suit various industries. When you can easily adapt and be flexible with client requirements, you’re more likely to learn and grow in your career. Besides, when you’re ready for anything that comes your way, it will help you stay on top of the industry because it’s an opportunity to learn new things.
- Embrace technology. Although you don’t need to be an IT expert, you do need to know your way around a computer. Accounting uses many different types of software programs, and you need to be comfortable enough with technology and computers to adapt your skills to different programs.
- Show leadership. Have the confidence to own what you do, but be able to delegate when necessary. Be a role model who is open and available to the people you’re responsible for. In addition, lead by showing you are good at strategic thinking and long-term planning.
If you have the necessary personal traits, enjoy problem solving and like working with numbers, studying accounting may be right for you. Campus, formerly known as MTI College, offers an online program that, in less than a year, can put you on the fast track to a career in accounting or bookkeeping.
Your expert instructors use a combination of lectures, videos and discussions to prepare you for situations you may encounter in the workforce as an entry-level accounting technician. In addition, you will learn the latest software that organizations throughout California and around the country use every day.
Contact an admissions representative at Campus today to get the training you need for an entry-level accounting job.