I used to be pretty good at accounting because I was a whiz with spreadsheets and data analysis. That changed when accounting began relying heavily on technology. Well, to be honest, traditional accounting–financial analysis, auditing, and tax knowledge–might still revolve around my sweet spots, but the rest, I now hire skilled professionals.
And I’m not the only one who realizes the importance of tech skills in accounting has changed. One of our Ask a Tech Teacher members has a great article outlining the tech skills you’ll want to look at if you’re interesting in pursuing an accounting career after high school:
7 Highly Useful Tech Skills to Develop if You’re Aiming for a Career in Accounting
In the digital era, the accounting industry has tightened its embrace of technology, transforming traditional roles into tech-oriented ones. Undeniably, tech skills have become just as essential as understanding debit and credit for accountants as computers become necessary for work.
These technological competencies allow accountants to streamline their work, provide more in-depth analysis, and enhance decision-making processes. Whether you’re just stepping into the world of accounting or aspiring to advance your career, sharpening your tech skills will unlock new opportunities and make you a much sought-after professional in this industry.
What Are Tech-Based Accounting Skills
Tech-based accounting skills refer to the technological competencies that accountants require in order to perform their jobs more efficiently in today’s digital-driven workspace.
They range from proficiency in accounting programs like QuickBooks, spreadsheet mastery with applications such as Excel, and understanding data analysis tools including SQL or Tableau.
Other tech skills include knowledge of cloud services, electronic communication tools, and even basic programming languages. Today’s modern accountant needs to be well-acquainted with the non-traditional, as many large CPA firms love to hire accountants with tech skills.
7 Tech-Based Skills All Accountants Should Have
Tech-based skills are very important for all accountants to learn as they will help them complete their tasks more seamlessly. Here are 7 useful skills all budding accountants should develop.
1. Adaptability to New Technology
Staying adaptable to new technology is key in an ever-evolving field like accounting. Regularly upgrading your skills and being open to learning new tools is vital. Those who can adapt to the latest technologies stand out in their roles and can deliver more efficient and accurate results.
2. Tax Preparation Software
If your role involves tax preparation duties, mastering tax software such as TurboTax or TaxAct is non-negotiable. These tools simplify extensive tax calculations, ensure accuracy, and provide the required forms for filers. Being comfortable with these platforms elevates your efficiency.
3. Business Intelligence Software
Business intelligence software, like Power BI or Tableau, helps accountants collect and analyze data to make informed business decisions. These tools provide valuable insights into financial trends and performance metrics. With these tools, you can help a company grow faster.
4. QuickBooks and Xero
QuickBooks and Xero are widely-used accounting software where familiarity is expected from accountants. Using these tools, you can manage billing, track expenses, generate financial reports, and more. Proficiency in both offers flexibility to work across different platforms.
5. Data Management Skills
Creating databases, deciphering complex financial data, and ensuring compliance with data regulations form this skill set. Mastering tools like SQL or even advanced Excel for these tasks can help maintain organization and improve the accuracy of analyses in your work.
6. Spreadsheet Software
Spreadsheet software isn’t just for data storage. You’ll also use it for complex calculations, detailed data analysis, and crafting financial reports. More than just basic functionality, mastering advanced features such as macros or PivotTables is a must in modern accounting.
7. Online Research Skills
Online research skills are an essential tech skill for accountants. The skill lies in finding information and discerning authenticity and relevance. A professional equipped with online research capabilities can contribute to accurate forecasting and informed decision-making.
How to Improve Your Tech-Based Accounting Skills
If you’re about to go into an accounting program and you find that your tech-based skills are lacking, you can work to improve them significantly by doing the following things.
Find a Mentor
A mentor who is already proficient in these accounting skills can provide valuable insights, recommend appropriate resources, and offer real-world advice based on their experiences. This one-on-one guidance could be a great edge in enhancing your accounting career.
Certification courses specific to accounting software or tools can greatly bolster your tech skills. Options like Microsoft Office Specialist Certification for Excel or Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor provide credibility to your skills and give you an advantage in the job market.
The internet hosts an abundance of resources to help you hone your tech skills. Online tutorials, webinars, forums, and blogs can provide helpful tips and tricks for using accounting tools efficiently. Many software providers also offer detailed user guides and free online training.
Developing your tech skills is an investment that pays off exponentially in your accounting career. From Excel proficiency to data management expertise, each new ability you acquire has the potential to make you more efficient and indispensable as a professional.
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Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, contributor to NEA Today, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.