One of the critical success factors of the next generation accountant is your ability to be a hybrid accounting professional. To be a hybrid accountant, you have to possess at least 90%of the skills discussed in this article.
The skills discussed below are both soft accounting skills and technical accounting skills.
18 Critical Soft and Technical Accounting Skills of A New Generation Accountant
The rest of this article is devoted to highlighting those critical skills of next generation accountants so sit back and enjoy.
Ability to use an ERP accounting system
As an accountant that is wired to face the challenges of the now and future economy, it is no longer sufficient for you know how to use traditional accounting software. You have to have intermediate to advanced knowledge of at least one ERP system like SAP for example.
IT audit ability
The use of technology in business has become so pervasive that it is becoming increasingly difficult for accountants that specialise in auditing to cope without sharpening his or her IT auditing skills. This is the main reason I decide to become a member ISACA and subsequently qualify as a Certified Information System Auditor.
We now live in the world of internet of things and this prevailing circumstance will increasingly become a reality. To be an accountant that is suitably qualified for the future, the internal have to and should be your friend. At the very least, you should be comfortable with fundamentals of internet marketing and how to leverage on the unequalled power of the internet.
The presence of accountants in board rooms of organizations is increasingly felt and this trend will continue into the future. It is vital that you have intercorporate skills for you to be able to wither the storm of corporate world. You can develop this skill through networking and joining professional accounting bodies.
Regulatory and privacy skill
Advancement in technology has given rise to a relatively new buzz phrase known as big data. This era of big data presents new challenges to organizations including privacy risk and reputation risk. Accountants as business adviser and business partners are expected to provide useful information that will allow managements to make economic decision.
Technical accounting skill
In as much as every other skill in this article are relevant, the most important and evergreen skill is the technical accounting skill. You need to keep up with the trend in accounting. This is why professional accounting bodies like ACCA and CIMA continually revise their syllabus to make it fresh and relevant.
Must be change agent
The role of accountants as consultants means that they act as agent of change. To be successful in consulting as an accountant, you need to be a natural change agent. The only problem is that you don’t formerly learn the skills of a change agent in a formal educational setting. To be ready as an accountant of the next generation, you have to be a leader in change management.
Ability to deliver value through technology
Very many companies buy technology for the sake of buying technologies without taking time to calculate the potential value of the technology. This practice led to many failed investment in IT hence, business leaders are looking for accountants with skills that can add value to their organization through appraisal of investment thereby creating value. One tool that you will find useful is ISACA’s Val IT model. Accountants are also expected to use technology in such a way that efficiency is optimised.
Not afraid of risk
The traditional accounting training encourages accountants to be risk averse but the real world favour those that are bold enough to take the bull by the horn. Companies are looking for accountants with entrepreneurial skills. Another way to put this is to be streetwise but in a calculated way.
Let’s face the fact; accountants are trained to speak the language of business. Now, ask yourself, what real impact will accountants be making if they have no first-hand knowledge of industries? The answer is next to none. So to be relevant as an accountant, you have to have full-fledged knowledge of the industry. There is no shortage of information in this superhighway era that we now live in, all that is required of you is to just get your hands on them.
Flair for commerciality
The ultimate aim of every profit seeking organization is to be profitable. This is why an accountant that knows the commercial implication of a proposed project will be more valuable than an accountant that does not think in commercial terms. Subscribe to some free marketing newsletters as this will contribute to your commerciality.
Clear communication prowess
There is this expression that you don’t know it enough if you cannot explain it in a very simple language. As accountants of the next generation where information is everything, you will be of no use if you cannot communicate information in an effective way. Remember that accountants are business communicators and commentators.
Knowledge of international politics
Globalization has succeeded in completely removing the barriers to not only trade but everything. As an accountant, you have never needed knowledge of international politics now and in the future.
Goal setting skill
Goal setting skill is and will remain one of the most powerful attribute of successful individuals. As a forward thinking accountant, you need to be able to set a SMART goal.
Ability to free think on the go
Freelance thinkers are what make the world go round. Modern accountants that can think on their feet are exactly what every enterprise is looking for. Your ability to think on the go can be fine-tuned through your constant involvement in one problem solving activity or the other.
Emotional intelligence is the icing on the cake that helps to bring other critical skills to fruition. Emotional intelligence is all about understanding oneself in such a way that the best in oneself is fully harnessed. In fact, you will not be far from the truth if you class every other accounting skill of the next generation accountants as IQ.
Trendy and flashy
Businesses are becoming sleek, flashy and fashionable. As an accountant of the next generation, you have to be flashy and trendy in both your dressing and gadgets. You have to use things that belong to the era you live in. You cannot be using paper and ink diary for example when there are numerous trendy digital personal planners or organizers that you can use.