Written by: Moaaz Iqbal
Membership of any accounting body is prestigious and a game changer for our careers, but is it enough? With so many “game changers” in the market, how would you stand out? I don’t know about you, but I definitely wouldn’t want to be less valuable than any other fellow accountant out there. For this purpose, I have gathered some information by researching online and discussing with experienced professionals about the skills I should have, not to just survive but also maintain my value in the future. Interested? Check these out.
1: Intermediary IT:
With more and more adoption of ICT in business, accountants (especially auditors) require intermediary IT skills to work effectively. These include:
● Basic programming and coding
● Advance knowhow of excel
● ERP understanding and experience
● Knowledge of business intelligence software.
In the future, Accountants should be equipped with updated skillset ready to identify & manage risks of any kind. They should be technologically savvy. Pakistan’s industry is a growing one, therefore, technological skills can easily make you stand out.
2: Business & Commercial Acumen:
The role of accountants is expanding. Accountants are not only limited to financial reporting but are also involved in higher management and leadership. Therefore, they should have strategic thinking and relevant decision-making skills. They should be able to understand the overall impact of accounting and finance on the organization and have a vision for the bigger picture.
Many of the professionals may prefer some other skills over this one, but this one is placed here due to some wisdom. Exhibiting initiative shows that you are an independent thinker and therefore, can be entrusted with higher responsibilities. It portrays that you are hard to influence and show reasonable skepticism before making any decision or choosing to believe someone. The initiative will be very helpful to kick start your career.
We all have witnessed how fast technology and methodology are changing, especially in Pakistan and UAE. Accountants must be willing to adapt to changes and be ready to use new tech every year rather than holding on to existing ones. Moreover, where feasible, accountants should also contribute to reasonable changes. This will only be possible if accountants would keep themselves updated with the latest tech changes and have an in-depth understanding of ICT. However, changes are not only limited to tech-related events. Accountants should be open to and participate in all kinds of beneficial or necessary restructuring.
5: Basic data analysis:
Companies are expecting a lot from accountants. This includes providing access to predictive data. Accountants, in future, should be able to turn “Big Data” into concise and decision-driven insights. Therefore, accountants should at least have a basic practical and theoretical understanding of data analysis. In Pakistan, data analytics is gradually gaining attention and I’m sure that in the near future it will become a necessity.
6: Emotional Intelligence & Communication:
Emotional Intelligence has become an essential skill for success in many fields and it’s about time that accountants had it too. EQ is different from your regular IQ. It consists of four elements:
3. Social awareness
4. Social management
Basically, it means to be intelligent with emotions and be able to use to them to your advantage. But why would a future accountant need it? Well, firstly, as accountants will be placed in leadership roles, they should be able to build and maintain relationships in order to execute the operations smoothly.
Secondly, this will help accountants with deciding what and how to communicate. Wouldn’t you feel great if you delivered bad news without making anyone cry? Moreover, no matter it’s a phone call, email, interview, meeting or a presentation, accountants should be able to personalize it and communicate the information concisely and clearly.
Thirdly, accountants would be able to convince and negotiate effectively, through EQ. Negotiations have always been and still, remain very important in finance roles.
These are all must-have skills and you couldn’t learn them in one day. So, start working on them today and stand out among the crowd in the near future.