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What Skills Do Accounting Firms Look For?

Accounting Skills Firms Are Looking For

Landing your first accounting job can be a daunting task, especially if you’re not sure what hiring managers are looking for. But don’t worry—help is here!

In this post, we’ll discuss seven skills accounting firms seek in recent graduates. Mastering these skills will help bolster your resume and increase your chances of landing that dream accounting job.

But first, let’s talk about the types of accounting jobs that are open to new grads.

Jobs to look for as a new grad

As a young accounting professional, you have many career options. Job titles that suit your experience include:

  • Junior accounting associate
  • Staff accountant
  • Tax accountant
  • Audit associate
  • Accounts receivable/accounts payable clerk

These entry-level jobs will help define your career path. Let’s take a look at the skills you’ll need to succeed.

Skills you'll need as an accountant

The accounting profession has changed a lot in recent years. Thanks to new technology, the accounting landscape looks very different than it did even just 10 years ago.

To be successful in accounting today, you’ll need to be proficient in

1. Cloud-based accounting software

In order to keep up with the demand for real-time financial reporting, many accounting firms have switched to cloud-based accounting software. This means that you’ll need to be comfortable working with programs like QuickBooks, Xero, and FreshBooks.

2. Data analysis

With all of the data available at our fingertips, it’s more important than ever to be able to analyze and make sense of it. Accounting firms will expect you to be able to use data to support your recommendations.

3. Microsoft Excel

Excel is still one of the most important tools in an accountant’s toolkit. If you’re not already comfortable using pivot tables, VLOOKUPs, and other advanced features, now is the time to learn!

4. Communication

Accounting isn’t just about numbers anymore. Today’s accounting professionals need to be able to clearly communicate their findings to clients and colleagues. This means having the ability to explain complex financial concepts in simplest terms.

5. Project management

Many accounting projects are now done in teams. As a result, firms are looking for accounting professionals who have project management experience. If you’ve never managed a project before, it’s okay. There are plenty of resources available online to help you learn the basics.

6. Critical thinking

The best accounting professionals are able to think critically and solve problems quickly. To show that you have this skill, be sure to describe examples of times when you identified and addressed issues in class assignments.

7. Creative problem solving

With the ever-changing accounting landscape, it’s more important than ever to be able to think outside the box and come up with creative solutions to problems. Firms will be impressed if you can demonstrate that you’re not afraid of change and that you’re always looking for ways to improve.

By now, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed. However, with time and effort, all of the above skills are within your grasp.

How to learn accountant skills

The best way to learn the skills you’ll need as an accountant is on the job. But if you’re just starting out, you might not have the experience needed to get hired.

One solution is to look for internships or entry-level jobs at accounting firms. This will give you the chance to learn new skills while also getting your foot in the door of the accounting profession.

Another option is to take accounting classes or pursue a certification. This can be a great way to show potential employers that you’re serious about pursuing a career in accounting. Gleim offers accounting course bundles that include everything you need to prepare for your exams.

No matter how you choose to learn, the important thing is to get started. By building your skill set and gaining experience, you’ll become a much more desirable candidate.

How to improve your resume

Now that you know what skills accounting firms are looking for, it’s time to start building your resume. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Highlight your accounting experienceBe sure to include any accounting internships, entry-level jobs, or coursework on your resume. If you don't have any direct accounting experience, don’t be discouraged! You can still highlight other experiences that have helped you develop the skills needed to be successful in an accounting role.
  • Use keywordsWhen employers are reviewing resumes, they often use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to help them filter candidates. To make sure your resume makes it past the ATS, be sure to include relevant keywords throughout (but don’t go overboard).
  • Quantify your accomplishmentsWhenever possible, include numbers to show just how successful you have been. For example, if you managed a team of accounting interns, you could mention how many interns were on the team and what they accomplished during their time with you.

Take the next step in your career

The job market can be very competitive, especially for recent grads and young professionals. But, by highlighting the skills that accounting firms are looking for, you can make yourself stand out from the crowd.

No matter what stage you’re at in your career, Gleim can help you reach your goals. We offer accounting courses, bundles, and practice questions to help you prepare for your certification exams. We also have a variety of resources to help you build your accounting skills and improve your resume.

So what are you waiting for? Get started today and take your accounting career to the next level!