Earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting means acquiring a wealth of knowledge in areas such as taxation, financial analysis, and corporate accounting. The career possibilities for graduates in accounting are nearly limitless and include everything from forensic accounting to investment banking. In fact, U.S. News & World Report ranked ‘Accountant’ as one of its best business jobs because of the flexibility, opportunity and job security that typically accompany the title. It’s easy to get caught up in numbers and calculations in the accounting field, but there are several other important skills to master than can help you make the most of your degree.
Learn to Sweat the Small Stuff
We’ve all heard the saying, “Don’t miss the forest for the trees,” which encourages us to not get so bogged down in life’s little minutiae that we miss the bigger picture. However, obsessive attention to detail is actually an asset when it comes to accounting. “Detail-oriented” is one of the most common attributes used in modern résumés, and with good reason. When two numbers transposed on a spreadsheet can mean thousands of dollars to a company or individual, your ability to check and verify every detail will be invaluable. As with any skill, you can learn to pay more attention to detail by observing what successful detail-oriented people notice every day.
Don’t Forget the Big Picture
In accounting, it is critical to notice details that may seem insignificant to others, but it is equally important to understand the context and the “big picture” in a variety of situations. Most accounting positions benefit from an awareness of the overall business strategy and goals for a specific company. Creating a budget, for example, requires knowledge not only of spreadsheets and numbers but also an understanding of the plans and human resources being utilized by a business to achieve those goals. Mastering the ability to see the “big picture” is strengthened by another important skill, communication.
Communication is Key
In the digital age, communication has taken on a renewed importance in interactions between companies, their customers, and their employees. While communication is not explicitly taught to the level of other specializations in accounting, it is a vital component of a successful accounting career. Effective communication is a skill that can be honed in group projects, with family members, with teachers and professors, or with friends and acquaintances. It’s easy to overlook the importance of non-verbal communication, but it can be as useful as printed or spoken words to convey thoughts and ideas.
Embrace New Technology
From ancient tax collectors in biblical times to modern CPAs, accounting for money is a timeless area of expertise. Not long ago, accountants and bookkeepers wrote meticulous entries into thick paper ledgers to track accounts and spending. Accounting methods have changed dramatically in recent decades, driven mostly by technological innovation. The Excel spreadsheets popularized in the 1980s and 1990s are now largely handled by cloud-based software. While the technical aspects of accounting are fairly static – debits must still equal credits – the tools we use to maintain financial information continue to evolve. Making the most of a B.S. in Accounting means learning new technology and developing a flexible mindset with regards to its use.
Use Creativity to Solve Problems
Popular media likes to portray accounting as a dry role whose practitioners lack imagination. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth! Many accounting professions require exemplary problem-solving skills and creativity. These positions are key to a business’ success, and the ability to “think outside the box” and anticipate future scenarios is immeasurably important. There are simple “life hacks” that will help you nurture your inner creativity and strengthen your skills in the field.
A Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting is one of the most useful and versatile courses of study that you can pursue. Whether through budgeting, investing, or filing taxes on time, the accountant’s job is the backbone of any organization. Building this know-how in pursuit of your degree will enhance your skill set and increase your opportunities upon graduation.
Additional Reading: Top 30 Online Master’s in Accounting Degree Programs