The key skills student accountants need in the workplace

We all want our professional qualifications to lead to the best career opportunities.

But knowledge alone isn’t enough to ensure sustainable success in your career; you also need certain skills and qualities, particularly in the context of a company’s finance team.

1. Entrepreneurial spirit

Every organisation wants to grow. Growth requires passion and perseverance on the part of staff. As such, irrespective of your role in an organisation, being entrepreneurial will help you both to succeed at work and gain the recognition you deserve. To be entrepreneurial, you must constantly develop your understanding of the sector, key tax changes and the solutions available. This will help you to identify opportunities and overcome challenges. Recognising change and being proactive enables you to be a strong contributor to your organisation.

2. Self-confidence

A high level of confidence in your professional abilities is key to performing effectively as an accountant. A firm grasp of accountancy principles and your particular specialism, as well as current developments in the sector, will improve your confidence. Accountancy is not just theory but application. Confidence is gained through regular practice.

3. Sound ethics

Accountancy is a profession built on ethics. An ethical approach to accounting is the key to building trust and long-term relationships with clients, as well as the reputation of your organisation.

4. Communication skills

Your success as an accountant depends on effective communication skills for two reasons. First, you may have to communicate the technicalities of accounting to clients in language they can understand. Second, being able to communicate effectively with direct colleagues, other divisions in your company and external stakeholders will not only improve your efficiency, but will also demonstrate your potential as an employee.

5. Accuracy

You must demonstrate a high degree of precision in your day-to-day work, as even small mistakes will have a great impact on the business you work for.

6. Strict compliance with standards and procedures

Develop a thorough understanding of the UK GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Practice). An in-depth understanding of these standards will enable you to meet compliance expectations. Developing the above behavioural and professional skills will better prepare any aspiring accountant for employment – and help them to climb the career ladder.

Naga Sai SK Dinavahi is Director of Quality Assurance, Enhancement & Development at UKCBC.

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