What Skills Are Required to Become an Accountant

Accounting is not for everyone. Accountants need an appreciation for numbers and an analytical mind. When interested in pursuing a career in accounting and payroll administration, certain personality traits in hand with acquired skill sets are required.

Personality Traits

Broad generalizations for the most part are not appropriate, however there are certain personality traits that will assist those wishing to become accountants. Here are some traits that serve the accountant well:

  • Communication Skills: Accounting can be a solitary career, but as an accountant there will be much need to explain and educate employers and clients about the work that has been done. The ability to clearly cover the details of each project, budget or tax return will be necessary and will often have to be explained in laymen’s terms.
  • Detail Oriented: This point may seem a little obvious, but details are very important in accounting and payroll administration. The accountant must note every number, understand every law and rule and make sure they are covering every minute detail.
  • Math Whiz: Another obvious trait, but truly one cannot expect to pursue a career in accounting if they did not ace their math exams in high school.
  • Self-Directed: Working without a lot of interaction and often with no interaction at all, the accountant should be happy working alone.
  • Willing to Learn: Accountants need to know their stuff, but they also can’t be satisfied that they know it all. The need to continue in the pursuit of knowledge is imperative to keep up on the latest rules and laws as well as software in the industry.

Three Required Skills

An accountant needs three basic skills in order to pursue a career in accounting and payroll administration:

  1. Mathematics: The basic math skills learned early in life are applied in everyday bookkeeping, however, higher mathematics are required for the advanced accountant who will need to apply skills such as fractions, statistics, averages, algebra and mathematical modeling. Calculus can also sometimes come into play.
  2. Computer/Calculator: All accountancy positions rely on the use of software, computers and calculators.
  3. Law: There are many laws, rules and regulations applied to all modes of accounting. From tax law to local government and even corporate policies. Accountants need to be certain they are following the rules and laws that apply to their position.

Accounting and payroll administration can be a very rewarding career for those who have these traits and skills.