Essential Software Skills for Successful Accountants
If you’re looking to land an accounting job in the near future you must have the right combination of skills and training. Additionally, employers are looking for strong candidates that have at least one to two years of work experience, especially since there will be competition over the next decade in the industry. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, accounting and finance jobs are going to increase by 6% over the next decade.
If you’re an aspiring accountant you must learn these skills to stand out in a crowded accounting job market. This is often because firms of any size don’t have the time to train new employees or get them up to speed on processes and software. Employers want candidates who are experienced, up-to-date, and knowledgeable on software so they can jump right in with a can-do mindset.
Michael Hoffman, a CPA who has over 25 years of experience in the accounting and finance industry offers advice on what skills candidates need to be a top professional in the field.
Below are the top 3 software skills requested by employers. According to Michael, learning these skills will set you up as an above-average candidate and boost your chances of getting a job offer.
Intermediate level for Excel and Microsoft Office skills
Excel and Microsoft Office are must-have skills for accountants at any level in their career. Excel is a core tool for most accounting firms. Even if you’re not a fan, you can’t run from learning it. This program is commonly used to predict and facilitate a company’s growth, and is used to help decision-makers determine what financial changes should be implemented.
If you take the time to learn the ropes on an intermediate level, or even advanced level of Excel and Microsoft Office, you will be considered a valuable candidate that employers will want on their team.
Tip: It’s a good idea to start learning these Excel skills:
- Keyboard shortcuts
- Filling and formatting
- Use pivot tables to summarize data
- VLOOKUP and HLOOKUP
- Data manipulation
- Auditing formulas
ERP experience (e.g., SAP, Oracle)
If you want to work for a growing company, having experience in ERP software will help your resume stand out amongst the crowd. ERP or “Enterprise Resource Planning” supports all of a business’s processes and operations and is essential to an accounting department because it can be used to accurately create with a budget, manage payments, and set allocation of costs for various activities such as labor, raw material, and transportation.
Tip: The best way to get experience on ERP software is to research the web, register for webinars, and join a software community group online. This will allow you to gain some general knowledge of the tool.
Knowledge of Quickbooks
Quickbooks is one of the most frequently used accounting software tools. The beginner side of this software is used to generate specific financial statements for sales forecasts, shareholders, investors, tax filings, and more. However, being able to use advanced features is where you become an asset to employers.
Tip: Companies are looking for prospective candidates that can hit the ground running with their Quickbook software skills. Try learning these intermediate skills first:
- Editing a template
- Filtering a report
- Memorizing a transaction
- Adding an account
- Finding a check written to a specific vendor
- Assessing a finance charge
What this means for you
With a competitive job market in the coming years, do yourself a favor and get ahead of the game to stand out to top accounting and finance firms. Gain valuable knowledge and hands-on experience in these software skills we listed above. Learning these skills ahead of time will help pave the way for a successful career path.
If you’re ready to get to work with a top company today, contact our ASG Accounting and Finance Practice Leader, Michael Hoffman. He can get you one step closer to a job opportunity with a firm that fits your skills and qualifications.