Top Accounting Skills

Top Accounting Skills

Accounting is the act of inspecting or managing someone else’s financial accounts. Accounting can refer to many different jobs, but all of these will require accounting skills. Many skills that accountants have are hard skills like those that relate to analysis and math, but there are also soft skills, which help accountants manage multiple accounts, assist clients and be organized.


Here are the top five accounting skills


Accountants will need to be able to read, compare and interpret data and figures. Auditors for instance may need to analyze data to find if funds have been misused or an accountant may work at reducing the clients tax liability by looking at their finances.

The ability to analyze figures and numbers in documents is a vital skill that is needed for all accounting jobs.


Accountants will need to be able to communicate with other colleagues, departments and clients. This communication may have to be in person or over the phone or through email. Accounts may also find that they have to give presentations.

Oral and written communication for an accountant will then have to be strong, as they will have to present complicated mathematical ideas in an accessible and easy way.

Detail Orientated

A lot of what an accountant does is paying attention to every detail, even the little ones. Accountants will have to go through a lot of data, which they will need to analyze and interpret. A great attention to detail is then a must.

Information Technology

Accounts will need to have knowledge of a number of systems and computer programs.

A bookkeeper for instance may need advanced Excel skills, an accountant may need to use financial software systems or an auditor may need to know certain data modeling programs.


All accounting jobs require a high level of organization. Bookkeepers, accountants and other such accounting fields will need to work and manage a number of client documents. These need to be kept in order and all the data will need to be managed.


Seasonal Accounting Jobs for Tax Season

Seasonal Accounting Jobs for Tax Season

When tax season arrives, accountants will find plenty of seasonal accounting jobs that they can do to pick up some extra money. Here is a look at some o these seasonal tax accounting jobs.


Risk Assurance Associate

There are few companies that hire in this role that help companies protect and strengthen aspects of their business. In this position you will have the role of assisting with the assessment of project risks and controls, identifying opportunities for companies to mitigate risk effectively, enhance the internal audit functions and more.

Program Coordinator

If you have tax and financial skills as well as exceptional organizational skills then you could get a seasonal job that involves coordinating projects and programs for financial and accounting companies.

Tax Preparer

Companies are always looking for extra help in tax season. You can find jobs helping prepare income tax returns, answer questions, and prepare tax projections and more.

Audit Associate

This type of seasonal job includes reviewing operational practices, auditing business payroll/tax records and submitting reports on findings.

Personal Financial Services Tax Manager/Associate

You can find jobs where you will work with companies that have clients with a high net worth. Your job will be to answer questions about financial planning and taxes.

Federal, State and Local Tax Advisors

A tax advisor can have a number of functions like helping customers understand technical terms and get through tax preparation software.

Administrative Assistant

When tax season hits administrative assistants and bookkeepers are in demand. Your duties will include performing AP and AR duties, maintaining databases, forecasting and more.


How to Choose Accounting Software that is Right for your Business

When you begin a business or are looking to expand your existing business one of the first things that you will think about is how you can keep up with the money.accounting software

This means you might be interested in accounting software. So how do you choose the right accounting software?

Supporting the General Ledger

Most businesses accounting systems are based on a chart of accounts, which is a numbered list of the ledger accounts that are affected by every business transaction.

A digital chart of accounts makes things easier as the business owner can enter each source document as a financial transaction as it occurs.

Financial Reporting

The accounting software that you choose should allow you to develop financial statements. This is possible by taking the information from the general ledger system as well as accounts receivable, inventory and accounts payable system.

Inventory Management Systems

If you sell a service that you will not need accounting software that has an inventory section. You will only need this if you sell products. This is because you need to track your inventory so you know when and how much inventories to order.

Payroll Functions

If you have a small business with no employees then it is not necessary for you to get accounting software with a payroll function.

If you have a few employees then you will need to get the software with the payroll function, as you need to keep up with all the items related to payroll.

Accounting for Accounts Receivable

Accounts receivable means that you extend store credit to your customers and they owe you credit accounts. You are also able to extend credit to them through the use of a store card.

If you do have accounts receivable then you will need accounting software that includes this. It is vital to keep track of any customer credit and their balances. You need to track which customers are creditworthy so you know who you can extend credit to in the future.

Keeping Track of Accounts Payable

The accounting software that you choose also needs to keep track of your account payable, which is what you owe to suppliers and vendors.

An Audit Trial

One of the most important tasks that any accounting software can do for a business is to create an audit trail. This is very important if anyone apart from the owner will be paying bills and receiving payments with a payment solution. The owner can see on the software where the money is going.


How an Accountant Can Help a Small Business

How an Accountant Can Help a Small Business

If you are looking to cut costs in your business then you may consider doing your own accounting if you have a solid understanding of business finances and have an accounting background.


If you do not have the experience to manage your business books and think that you can learn as you go then you need to stop and think again.

When you manage your own accounting systems and do this incorrectly then you can hurt your business.

Here is how an accountant can help your small business according to

In the Start Up Process

When you start your business you will need to set up a number of systems and go through certain actions so that your business has solid foundation.

An accountant can help in the following ways.

  1. Define the best business structure for you
  2. Help with the financial analysis in your business plan
  3. Advise on the accounting software that you might need
  4. Advise and help with opening a business bank account.
  5. Ensure that your accounting procedures are in line with government requirements and regulations.
  6. Advise on how to track expenses during daily business activities.
  7. Explain why it is important to make sure that personal and business expenses are separate.

Regular Business Operations

Once your business up and running you will need to maintain the accounting system. Your accountant can help with:

  1. Ensure the IRS classifies your independent contractors as that.
  2. Explain your financial statements so you know your business better
  3. Oversee the payment processes
  4. Advise on tax payments
  5. Explain when and to who you will need to send your W2 and 1099 forms
  6. Close your books and create financial reports at end of year
  7. Prepare and submit your financial reports, taxes and other paperwork to the IRS.

Business Growth Stage

When you are ready to grow your business, then your accountant can be a fundamental resource. Here is how your accountant can help.

  1. Determine areas of growth by providing valuable insight into inventory management, cash flow patterns, business financing and pricing.
  2. Advise on leasing and buying property and equipment
  3. Help in preventing auditing by the IRS
  4. Prepare and help you through an audit
  5. Create financial forecasts
  6. Create a business budget
  7. Advise and assist in the sale of your business.

As you can see an accountant can be a fundamental resource to small business owners.


The Accounting Game: Basic Accounting Fresh from the Lemonade Stand

Accounting doesn’t have the reputation for being fun or interesting, and maybe that is because it is taught from textbooks that are dry, boring, and hard to understand.

The Accounting Game: Basic Accounting Fresh from the Lemonade Stand is a fantastically fun take on learning basic accounting so the reader actually enjoys the experience. Anyone starting or already operating a business should know at least some basic accounting principles in order to reasonably track performance and keep records for tax purposes.

Basic Accounting Made Easy

This book is not an overly complex publication designed for someone with a CPA; it offers a simplified learning experience for those who have training in other backgrounds and don’t require formal training in basic accounting.

As you might surmise from the title, the book is centered on a young boy going into the enterprise of running a lemonade stand. He must procure operating capital and have a plan on how he will repay it.

Because the book is written in a story format, you do not feel you are going to school; however, you do pick up basic accounting terms and associate them to real life situations much better than you ever would in a classroom.

The Accounting Game has prompted many to proceed on to take college level courses and even pursue an accounting degree, something they would never have considered before reading the book.

There is no need to worry about having to commit to reading a lengthy publication. The book is less than 200 pages and flows so smoothly I was able to finish it within a few days.

Actually Fun to Read

Authors Judith Orloff and Darrell Mullis have put together a fun read that even someone without a clue about basic accounting can easily understand. Even those who hate (or THINK they hate) accounting are totally converted after following the story line of a young boy wanting to sell lemonade.

This book delivers exactly what it promises. If you have a friend or family member who is going to college soon for accounting, The Accounting Game is a great gift for creating more interest and providing an advantage in college courses.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 179 pages
  • Also Available in Kindle format
  • Language: English

Private Sector Careers in Accounting

An accountant is much more than just a bookkeeper, and although keeping financial records straight is part of the talent set, it is an extremely focused area that needs at least a 4-year level and the ability to pass an assessment for certification and expert licensing. Unlike numerous areas in the company sector, accountants are still in high need, and there is a scarcity of professional private sector accountants.

Public market accounts are exactly what most people consider when they think about just what an accountant is; a CPA, the person that handles your economic statements, and does your levies. They usually help many customers, and offer help on tax and financial matters. Private sector careers in accounting are a lot more concerned with the financial administration of one business, and deal with the internal controls and helping to direct the financial direction in which that the business is moving, in both a practical and an advisory capability.

The CFOs of numerous major corporations started as private sector accountants, but several private sector accounts began as CPAs as well. It is not unheard of for accounting graduates to work in both abilities at some point in their careers. Some private sector careers in accounting are tax and economic administration, built in auditing, management account, forensic accounting, and Certified Fraud Management.

In every area of private sector accounting you should have high degree of communication and individuals talents, excellent home computer and analytical skills, and be pliable and ingenious.

Education and learning and Accreditation
Educational requirements for a career in accounting are at minimum a Bachelor of Science qualification in accounting or finance from an accredited university, lots of positions will certainly need you to have a Master’s degree in accounting.

Also if you choose a career in private sector accounting, some business will require to have a CPA certificate too. In order to qualify to take the CPA exam, you have to have at the very least 30 hrs of accredited accounting courses on top of your Bachelor’s degree.


Forensic Accounting

Forensic accounting work is done by accountants in anticipation of litigation, which can include fraud, bankruptcy, valuation, and other professional accounting services. They possess special skills in specific industries such as tax, insurance, banking, mortgage, employment and learn the business practices related to those fields. Forensic accountants are actively looking for signs of fraud and must look beyond the numbers and anticipate criminal actions.

Forensic accountants conduct interviews to obtain individual stories.  Forensic accountants must possess exceptional observational skills to pick up hints or suspicious clues. After collecting evidence a forensic accountant begins the analysis.  Then the forensic accountant writes a report explaining his or her opinions and conclusions.

Forensic accountants also provide litigation support.  Attorneys engage forensic accountants to review evidence and testimony and explain its significance.  A forensic accountant can tell the attorney what additional information is needed to prove the case and what questions to ask a witness. This is the primary qualification that makes Forensic Accountants different from Fraud Examiners

Certified Fraud Examiner

On the other hand, fraud examinations can be conducted by either accountants or non-accountants, and refer only to anti-fraud matters. A Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) is a specialist who is educated and trained in the detection and deterence of a wide variety of white collar crimes such as identify theft, fraud and embezzlement. CFEs gather evidence, take statements, write reports and assist in investigating fraud in its varied forms.

CFEs are employed by most major corporations and government agencies and others provide consulting and investigative services, however, they are not usually able to provide expert testimony in a criminal case like Forensic Accountants can.  Certified Fraud Examiners (CFE) come from various professions including forensic accountants, auditors, CPAs, fraud investigators, loss prevention specialists, attorneys, educators and criminologists.

Education & Training

An accounting career could be just the thing to bring you satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment. Along with medical and health related careers, accounting professionals are among the group of professions that are projected to see a lot of growth over the next few years.

Graduates of four year accountancy programs are earning 3.7% more in terms of starting pay straight out of college. Master’s degree holders are seeing a 4% increase in starting pay over the last couple of years.

There are many top notch two year accounting degree programs as well. Your choice really depends on many factors, including career objectives, the amount of money that you have to invest in an education or your ability to attain student loans, as well as what your schedule is like.

If you want to educate yourself on accounting in order to better manage your own small business or non-profit organization, chances are you’d do best with some classes from the local community college or other type of learning center.

In many larger cities and some towns, there are learning centers that offer a wide variety of classes, from cooking and home improvement to accounting. Ask around at your local public library or community college to find out about all the learning opportunities that your community has to offer.

For more serious study to put toward managing the finances of your business or organization, you may find that a community college has just the combination of classes that you’re looking for.

If you want to pursue an accounting career further, a community college is still one of the best places to start. If you have children or must work while attending school, community colleges are going to offer you the most flexibility in terms of scheduling.

For more information on the projected outlook for those in accounting careers, take a look at the government’s Occupational Outlook Handbook found at There is a great wealth of information here that can help you decide how satisfying various degrees and professions are likely to be over the coming years.


Steps to Become a Tax Accountant

Although the term tax accountant is pretty commonly bandied about, there is no actual thing called tax accountants. There are accountants who do your taxes or concentrate on taxes and you can probably classify them as tax accountants. The qualifications for a tax accountant is therefore no different from that of an accountant. Here the steps to follow

Step 1: Minimum high school graduate.
It is however progressively getting more and more difficult to get your foot in the door as an accountant without a degree. If you are unable to pursue a 4 year degree course, at least opt for a 2 year one. Later on, you can pursue adult education classes in the field that you would like to concentrate on.
Step 2: Acquire computer skills.
Become conversant with computers and computer tools that will help with accounting.
Step 3: Get a license.
Although it may not be necessary to obtain a license to practice, many states require that you pass an examination and obtain a license before you can become an accountant.
Step 4: Get membership in accounting organizations.
In many cases, a membership in an accounting organization in the local city or state is a must have before you can start practicing.
The above mentioned steps are only guidelines. As mentioned it is not even required to have a degree as long as you have the requisite experience. If you do manage to get your foot in the door in to an accounting firm without a degree, a degree may not even be needed.
Obtaining a degree is however becoming very important not only because organizations ask for a degree as a minimum for certain managerial positions, but because one of the requirements for certifications like the CPA (Certified Public Accountant) is a degree.
Obtaining a certification is also important not so much because it is a basic requirement, but because certifications invariably translate to a better pay of between 15 and 25%.
Apart from these educational qualifications, an accountant will also require certain quantities such as honesty and integrity. He or she needs to be methodical, analytical and meticulous. Although, brilliancy in mathematics is not a prerequisite, an inclination towards maths and problem solving is essential.
It is also important that you network with others in a similar field because contacts are essential to further your prospects. In many cases, contacts will open doors that educational qualifications, experience or expertise will not.
Try to start in a very small firm where you will get exposure to concepts much higher than you will in a larger firm. Four to five years of such experience will be worth more to you than double this time doing low end mundane work in a large well known organization.


Keystones of Forensic Accountant Curricula

One of the best definitions of Forensic accounting can be found at investopedia which defines forensic accounting as “Utilizing accounting, auditing and investigative skills to conduct an examination into a company’s financial statements.

Forensic accounting is therefore an art, and although there are a number of institutions that offer degrees in it, forensic accounting has more to do with the application of the art than in following the rules of accounting procedure.

The curriculum for forensic accounting is therefore basically the same as a CPA. A degree in forensic accounting entails courses in accounting, business ethics, law and fraud. The coursework for accounting principles and business ethics are pretty standard across the board, it is only the coursework on fraud that makes a forensic accountant.

Once the background in accounting and auditing have been laid, investigative practices are taught. Different institutions approach this in different ways, but the goal is always the same.

Broadly speaking the keystones of the curriculum will be as follows:

Fraud detecting – How to detect fraud is the basic essential for any accountant, and acquires even more importance for a forensic accountant. Fraud detection involves the diligent application of accounting practices to detect if fraud has occurred. This is why many institutions ask for prior work experience before admitting students for a course in forensic accounting.

Fraud examination – This calls for examining the allegations or suspicions of fraud from inception till disposition. This is where investigative practices are used to unearth evidence to prove fraud. This is the most important facet of a forensic accountant’s profession because they are called in only when there is suspicion of fraud.

The investigative practices used are not the same as in other divisions of crime detection. Most forensic accountants need to be thorough in the basics of accounting and in the ability to unearth where fraud has taken place and then investigate it to find out how.

Investigation is more an art than a science, and how good a forensic accountant is, depends on his or her ability to “smell” it out. The knowledge of fraud practices is considered vital here because most fraud tends to follow general patterns.

Most investigative courses focus on creating an awareness of these patterns. This generally involves the use of case studies to show how fraud has occurred in the past and how it was identified.

Fraud deterrence – This refers to the putting in place of proper safeguards, checks and balances by the forensic accountant to prevent future fraud.

Fraud remediation – This involves the recovery of loss due to fraud. This is the second most important facet of a forensic accountant’s profession because recommendations need to be made to the injured party as to the best method of recovery of loss.

Courses on business law will give the necessary background for this although the nature of the job is such that the forensic accountant is more concerned with mitigating and recovery of loss than of legal prosecution of the perpetrator of the fraud.

As can be seen above, most of the job of a forensic accountant is no different from that of a CPA, except for the fact that a forensic accountant performs the investigation, rather than hand it over to another party for this. The keystones for the curricula are therefore investigative practices, but as fraud keeps evolving, the methods of detecting them too need to evolve and a forensic accountant needs to ensure that he is always up to date on this.

Learning never stops for a forensic accountant.