Be Prepared: Job Skills Training Every Accountant Needs

Job Skills

Applicants with ample job skills training will always have an advantage in the job market. If you’re just starting out or looking to advance in the field of accounting and finance, your job skills training can be boosted with specific coursework, software instruction and general business direction.

These three skill-building areas can give you a solid base as you build your accounting career.

Start with the basics: education

Most accounting positions demand a four-year accounting degree. Other roles require a Master of Business Administration (MBA). (For some bookkeeping and related roles, you might only need an associate’s degree.) If you’d like to become a certified public accountant and know you’ll be taking the CPA exam, look into your state’s requirements. On average, 150 hours of related coursework are required before a candidate can sit for the exam.

Business knowledge and experience

In addition to academic degrees and industry certifications, employers expect a basic level of several skills and attributes in accounting job candidates. Computer skills are high on the list. Other valuable non-accounting skills in demand include project management and understanding of business processes, as well as experience with legal compliance or a willingness to research and understand laws, rules and regulations. With more and more accounting departments expected to work with other company departments, general business knowledge is highly valued. 

Software proficiency

In today’s tech-savvy workplace, accounting and technical skills go hand in hand. Even entry-level accountants are expected to be proficient in programs such as Microsoft Excel, Word and Access, as well as financial software like QuickBooks, Hyperion or Peachtree. Depending on your specialization or size of company, industry-specific software may also need to be in your toolbox. 

Financial certifications

Certifications demonstrate your competence in specific areas, and can make you a sought-after candidate for open positions that require such specializations. Some financial certifications can be applied to a wide variety of positions, while others are geared toward specific jobs. Some of the most common finance and accounting certifications include:

• Certified Public Accountant (CPA). By far the most common certification, the CPA certification is widely accepted and applicable in a variety of positions. Obtaining your CPA license requires successful completion of education hours, work experience and a comprehensive exam. The exact requirements vary by state.

• Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA). This globally recognized certification designates accountants who specialize in management.

• Certified Management Accountant (CMA). Globally accepted, the CMA designates accountants who specialize in financial analysis, decision support, financial planning and control.

• Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA). This certification issued by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association designates a candidate’s expertise in information systems control, auditing and security.

• Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE). Accountants with this certification are skilled in fraud identification, prevention and investigation.

• Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). Accountants with CFA designations specialize in investment analysis and portfolio management. This certification is globally recognized.

• Certified Internal Auditor (CIA). The CIA certification recognizes an accountant’s ability to ensure compliance with both internal company regulations as well as external regulatory organizations such as the SEC. With ever-changing regulatory requirements, certified internal auditors are in demand. 

Sources for training

If you’re ready to get started on your accounting career, there are plenty of resources for accounting training, including Accountemps’ own online training courses. Whatever direction you decide to take, investing in your job skills training is always a solid career decision.

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