Top skills for the modern accountant

With the rise of automation in accounting in recent years, tedious tasks like data entry, payroll generation, and manual bookkeeping have become more efficient and less time-consuming. In fact, the finance function is expected to have at least 80% of its tasks automated by machines.

At Harvest Accounting, we embrace the benefits of effortless accounting, but we absolutely don’t think that it renders accountants as obsolete or unnecessary. Digitalisation just means that accountants’ skill set will need to change in the near future. Instead of churning excel spreadsheets and manual bookkeeping, modern accountants will have to add value to the industry’s human front, and there are many skills that accountants possess that are impossible to automate

While technology helps with crunching the numbers, accountants remain vital in guiding businesses towards their financial goals. They can now focus on providing clients with insights from data analytics and good business foresight from generating reports.

With the right skills in place, accountants can manage your finances and take them to the next level. 

Tech-savvy

As we embrace technology and its impact on the accounting industry, it’s also crucial for the person utilising the tools to be technologically savvy. Although machines can handle data entry responsibilities, accountants should know how to make effective use of them. 

These days, accounting firms have started to realise the benefits of accounting software and the market is about to grow even bigger. The global accounting software market size is projected to reach a value of US$20,408 million by 2026, as stated in a Fortune Business Insights report.

To keep up with the latest software technology, modern accountants should be adept in using cloud-based technology to its full potential to help clients with their finances, ensure productivity, and improve workflow. Experience in selecting specific software to suit business functions is also essential—you wouldn’t want to be spending money on a software that’s “ok.”   

The shift to digitalisation might seem daunting, but at Harvest Accounting, clients don’t have to worry about getting started. We also assist our clients on their digitalisation journey and help them set up and migrate their historical data to accounting software, so getting technical is easy and fuss-free.

Knowledgeable and analytical  

Being tech-savvy would be a good base skill for a modern accountant, but it doesn’t stop there. Other than being tech-savvy, accountants should be knowledgeable in good financial practices. We’re not just talking about calculations—we’re talking about business-savvy and know-how. You want someone who can advise you and provide solutions to financial problems. 

We’ve been helping small businesses win for a few years now, and in that time we’ve accumulated a lot of financial knowledge. Alongside general knowledge, we believe in getting to know each of our clients and businesses well enough before giving advice. When it comes to financial decision-making, it’s not a one-size fits all approach. Once we’re able to get a bigger picture of the business, the combination of our experience and our tech, can help us improve your business performance. 

Accountants should be updated on the economic climate and trends within different industries to advise you on specific areas of your business. A benefit of choosing to outsource to an accounting firm is that you have access to experts who have gained experiences working with different types of companies would possess the cumulative knowledge to give proper advice. 

Furthermore, an accountant should be able to understand and interpret what the numbers in the reports mean. 

They can pick up important information from reports and give you a good overview of your business performance. An accountant needs to be observant about gaps in your cashflow or invoices as it can certainly help identify crucial problems before they accumulate. 

Analysing trends, extracting the right data and inferring numbers are what a good modern accountant should do to provide better foresight and insights to guide your business in the right direction. 

Communicative

One of the many qualities that can’t be automated would be good communication between clients and accountants. Even though accounting software can help with data entry and bookkeeping, they can’t speak directly to you or answer your questions. 

Generating reports via accounting software will not be useful if you’re unable to comprehend or interpret the numbers shown to you. Accountants can add value by presenting present information to you in a digestible manner, and explain accounting jargon clearly and concisely. 

Enhancing verbal communication can help you understand your business’ financial situation and even clear the way to helping you achieve your financial goals. Not only will you be more precise about your direction in terms of your goals, you can also tackle financial problems with your accountant’s help. 

Accountants should communicate with you regularly, or respond to queries and feedback promptly. Being able to discuss solutions and problems effectively will help improve your workflow and efficiency. 

In our company, we emphasise the need to build a strong partnership with our clients to grow alongside their businesses. That’s why we provide monthly consultations and commentary to communicate with our clients and keep them updated on their finances. We prioritise our clients’ financial goals, and communicating financial concepts in an easy to understand manner is one way to empower small business owners. 

Besides email and physical meet-ups, we are available for video calls and screen sharing. Ultimately, there should be a combination of mediums that works well for both us and our client. 

Empathetic and understanding

An accountant who understands the perspective of a business owner is not something you can get from a machine. Empathy is crucial.

Accountants need to make you feel comfortable and confident. Instead of just talking to you about debit and credit, they can also be empathetic about financial difficulties when you’re navigating your business. 

Small businesses, armed with limited resources are especially vulnerable to macroeconomic forces and climate, but may also be more flexible and able to pivot. A good accountant can listen to the clients’ specific needs and perceive problems from their perspective. 

When proposed solutions come from a place of empathy, clients will also put their trust in accountants knowing that they are capable of understanding and giving proper advice.

Adaptability and flexibility 

Accountants should understand your business’ operations to give you relevant insights, and at the same time, help you with bookkeeping.

There are times when your finances may experience drastic changes. When that happens, your accountant should keep in mind the nature of your business and offer flexible solutions to tackle the problems you face. Ideally, it’ll be good if they can be open-minded and discuss how to combat the issues instead of just giving one-dimensional solutions.

We don’t just generate reports for clients at Harvest Account, but also provide ongoing support and regular checkups to ensure that our clients’ business has good financial health. With the help of accounting software, we can gain better foresight for your business’s growth or point out red flags and advise you on solutions before things get awry. 

Do you resonate with these skills?

Accountants are the human connection between financial technology and information, and clients, which is something that cannot be automated. 

Although modern accounting software has made the labour-intensive job of bookkeeping less so, a modern accountant can help provide clients with better foresight for their business. They can be a strategic partner instead of someone who simply gives you a summary of your profit and loss. 

More importantly, they are able to make you feel like you can take their advice and trust them with your finances. After all, the benefits of accounting software are limited without the help of accountants.

If you think the list of skills mentioned above is what you need in an accountant, get in touch with Harvest Accounting here!

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