Top 6 Accounting Skills in Demand: Research-Backed | Amaka (2024)

Top 6 Accounting Skills in Demand: Research-Backed | Amaka (1) Laura Tien January 11, 2024

Accounting Technologist Article

Whether you’re a junior accounting looking to land one of your first roles or an experienced accountant looking to get ahead in your career, staying on top of high-demand accounting skills will make you significantly more competitive. Today, the modern accountant is expected to to demonstrate a wide variety of skills beyond that of a traditional accountant.

For today’s article, we’ve looked into a range of recent insights and reports. We’ve compiled a list of 6 emerging accounting skills that are the most desired in today’s fast-paced business environment. These include key innovations, such as blockchain technology, as well as age-old skills that have had growing importance, such as relationship building.

You’ll find that all the skills we’ll discuss hinge on the accounting industry’s digital transformation. In a recent research paper published by Deloitte on Finance in a Digital World, 43.9% of high-level accounting professionals listed a ‘mix of strong accounting and technology skills’ as one of the most difficult skill sets to find. About 40.4% of the same group felt that ‘strong technology skills’ was one of the most important for their team to improve upon.

Cloud-based accounting software

One of the largest trends in the accounting industry has definitely been the rise of cloud-based software and cloud accounting. Instead of storing data locally on a single computer, cloud computing enables data to be accessed from anywhere. Surprisingly, only 28.2% of firms have invested in cloud-based accounting solutions. However, another 36.2% are currently implementing or to plan to implement these tools.

Though the cloud accounting market in 2019 was only worth US $2984.2 million, it’s set to reach a whopping US $4567.9 million by the end of 2026. The predicted growth has led skills in cloud accounting to become much more desirable. When high-level accounting professionals were asked about the skill sets that need the most additional training in the next 2 years, 45.8% put ‘cloud-based accounting solutions’ as their first or second option.

Related: Top accounting trends: Latest 2023 research and statistics

The use of cloud computing in accounting goes beyond accounting software as well. Firms are using cloud technology internally for enterprise resource planning (ERP), inventory management, project management and for general communication. More tech-first firms are also advising on suitable cloud software for clients and sometimes helping with implementation.

Intelligent accounting automation

Cloud computing enables businesses to better automate their processes. The importance of automation became clearer as finance teams were forced to close their books remotely during the pandemic. Those that relied on cloud technology to automate functions such as accruals, adjustments, and internal transactions, fared much better than those who didn’t.

Hence, the demand for those with skills in automation is significantly higher now. In particular, firms are looking to take advantage of automated data entry, payroll, A/P and A/R, and audits. For example, an accounting professional working with an e-commerce client can benefit from understanding how to connect e-commerce platforms to accounting solutions through accounting integrations that can automate data entry.

These tasks are typically categorised into Robotic Process Automation or RPA. About 23.9% of high-level accounting professionals said ‘RPA’ was the most or second-most important skill needed in the next 2 years. Hence, it would be useful to get a grasp on the tools available on the market.

Now that cloud computing and automation have made keeping the books accurate a lot easier, there’s now a greater opportunity to use the data in budgeting, forecasting and reporting tools. Currently, 26.7% of firms have already implemented these tools with another 41.1% planning to or currently implementing them.

When finance and accounting managers, directors, controllers, and CFOs were asked about the skill set that they thought needed the most additional training in the next 2 years, the largest proportion (52.3%) put ‘budgeting, forecasting and reporting tools’ as their first or second highest option. Clearly, experience in these tools are highly coveted in the accounting industry at the moment.

Blockchain technology

Blockchain has been making waves in the news for years now. The technology is a great representation of where the accounting industry wants to move. Blockchain uses peer-to-peer technology, allowing users to keep up-to-date contracts and asset registers, and process real-time transactions without the need for a bank. This model supports standardisation, verification, authentication and privacy.

The Big 4 are currently researching and trialling blockchain technology in the accounting industry. There’s a potential for blockchain technology to do away with the need for financial statement audits or at the very least, change financial reporting and auditing processes. Blockchain could provide a more consistent format for auditors, make accessing information easier and create more opportunities for automation.

Though at the moment, blockchain technology implementation rates are quite low (1.4%), there is a substantial proportion of firms (9.6%) in the process of implementing or planning to implement it. Demand for accounting professionals with an understanding in blockchain technology is expected to rise with 11.0% of high-level accounting professionals noting it as the skill that needed the most or second-most training in the coming couple of years.

Data analytics and critical thinking

As technology speeds up processes for accounting professionals in a range of ways, the need for data analytics increases, particularly for early career accountants. Being able to use different software and tools is only one part of the equation. Accountants need to be able to find patterns, draw conclusions and analyse data strategically.

We’re already seeing shifts in the type of work done in the industry with 64.4% of high-level accounting professionals stating that it’s become more analytical in the past 18 months. A whopping 91.6% expect the work to become more analytical in the next 5 years. It’s not surprising that in a survey of almost 5,400 finance professionals, 31.6% considered ‘data science and analytics’ to be a main focus when hiring.

On a similar note, the skill ranked most important by leaders in the industry (61.7%) was ‘critical thinking/problem-solving skills’. Reporting no longer refers to just presenting data and graphs. In order to be an effective business partner, accountants need to be able to have a bigger hand in providing more strategic, deeper insights.

Related: 5 traits to look for in accountants and bookkeepers of the future

Relationship building and communication

Last but definitely not least, you need relationship building and communication to complete the trifecta of accounting skills. Though this skill set has been around for as long as we can remember, 28.4% of accounting managers, directors, controllers, and CFOs have still noted ‘people skills’ as one of the core capabilities that needs improvement.

The insights drawn need to be articulated clearly both internally and externally. One interesting development we’ve seen is the increased need for accountants who can communicate through online channels as well as traditional channels. Unfortunately, confident and strong communication skills are underdeveloped in many accounting organisations.

Similarly, accountants need to be able to build strong relationships. Internally, this helps with collaboration and motivation. Externally, accountants can better understand their clients’ needs and hence provide a more tailored service. Despite technology taking over many accounting processes, building rapport is still in the hands of accountants themselves.

Key takeaways on high-demand accounting skills

Accounting technology is already changing processes and expectations in the industry. More organisations are investing in technologies and more tools are becoming available. Around 51.0% of finance and accounting managers, directors, controllers, and CFOs are expecting specific technology capabilities to become more present in finance as opposed to IT.

To make sure you remain competitive, it’s crucial to get ahead with the technologies that are currently being implemented. However, the more technology is introduced, the more time accountants will have on their hands. This ultimately leads to a stronger demand for skills such as problem solving, critical thinking and relationship building.

What’s next?

  • Read about the difference between accounting technologists and accountants
  • Learn more about Amaka’s range of accounting integrations
  • Choose a time for a free, 1-on-1 walkthrough of an Amaka integration

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Top 6 Accounting Skills in Demand: Research-Backed | Amaka (2024)


What accounting skills should I put on Linkedin? ›

Include key technical skills such as proficiency in accounting software (e.g., QuickBooks, Microsoft Excel), knowledge of GAAP, and tax preparation. Also, highlight soft skills like attention to detail, problem-solving, and communication, which are crucial in accounting roles.

Which three major skills must be demonstrated to be successful as an accountant? ›

Top Technical Skills for an Accountant
  • Using Accounting Software. ...
  • Preparing and Reporting on Financial Statements. ...
  • Knowledge of Spreadsheet Software. ...
  • Communication. ...
  • Time Management and Organization. ...
  • Critical Thinking. ...
  • Problem-Solving. ...
  • Strong Attention to Detail.
Mar 5, 2024

Which of these skills are most important to an accounting professional? ›

Here are top skills accountants need to carry out accounting duties :
  • Organization. ...
  • Data analysis and attention to detail. ...
  • Critical thinking. ...
  • Effective communication. ...
  • Time management. ...
  • Problem-solving. ...
  • Standards of accounting. ...
  • Industry and general business knowledge.
Mar 24, 2024

What are strong accounting skills? ›

What Skills do Accountants Need?
  • Business Knowledge. In general, accountants coordinate and collaborate with professionals across departments within a business. ...
  • Technology Expertise. ...
  • Communication Skills. ...
  • Flexibility & Adaptability. ...
  • Creativity & Problem Solving. ...
  • Customer Service. ...
  • Experience. ...
  • Analytical.
Apr 18, 2024

Which skill would be best for an accountant to have? ›

Basic Soft Skills for Accountants
  • Strong written and oral communication.
  • Organization and attention to detail.
  • Analytical and problem solving skills.
  • Time management.
  • Systems analysis.
  • Mathematical and deductive reasoning.
  • Critical thinking.
  • Active learning.

What are the 5 best skills for LinkedIn? ›

Top Soft Skills to Add to LinkedIn
  • Creativity. Innovation and the ability to come up with new solutions is a key requirement for every business. ...
  • Persuasion. ...
  • Collaboration. ...
  • Adaptability. ...
  • Emotional Intelligence. ...
  • Blockchain. ...
  • Cloud Computing. ...
  • Analytical Reasoning.
Jan 19, 2024

What is core competency in accounting? ›

Accounting competencies are the technical competencies of the profession that add value to business and contribute to a prosperous society. Risk Assessment, Analysis and Management. Assess, analyze and manage risk using appropriate frameworks, professional judgment and skepticism for effective business management.

What are the three most important things in accounting? ›

Liabilities: Amounts owed to another person or business (e.g., accounts payable) Equity: Your assets minus your liabilities. Income and revenue: Cash earned from sales.

What are the five ethics of accounting? ›

The revised Code establishes a conceptual framework for all professional accountants to ensure compliance with the five fundamental principles of ethics:
  • Integrity.
  • Objectivity.
  • Professional Competence and Due Care.
  • Confidentiality.
  • Professional Behavior.

What are interpersonal skills in accounting? ›

Soft or interpersonal skills are personal traits and habits that determine how accountants work alone and with others. They include communication skills, problem-solving and critical thinking. Candidates can highlight their skills in job applications to demonstrate their abilities to potential employers.

Why are people skills important in accounting? ›

Accountants must be able to communicate their ideas, findings, and recommendations clearly and confidently. Effective written and verbal communication skills enable accountants to articulate their thoughts, present complex financial information, and engage in meaningful discussions with clients and colleagues.

What would be an information skill important for an accounting major? ›

In addition to keeping accurate financial records, accountants must have the basic technical ability to analyze, interpret and compare to help people and organizations reach their goals.

What is the key strength of an accountant? ›

Despite wide variation in their respective duties, successful accounting professionals all possess the same main skills. Key examples include financial analysis, critical thinking, collaboration, and confidence with specialized financial software platforms.

How do I brush up my accounting skills? ›

How to improve your accounting skills
  1. Take an introductory class online. ...
  2. Dive into a specific accounting topic. ...
  3. Enhance your soft skills. ...
  4. Keep your knowledge of accounting standards up to date. ...
  5. Learn how to get the most from accounting software. ...
  6. Get accounting questions answered. ...
  7. Learn more about the industry.
Apr 4, 2024

What is your greatest strength accounting answer? ›

“My greatest strength is my attention to detail and accuracy. I have a meticulous approach to analyzing financial data and ensuring precision in my work, and I strive to maintain the highest level of accuracy and quality in financial reporting.

What is description for accountant in LinkedIn? ›

Reviewing financial documents and transactions to ensure accuracy and compliance. Performing financial analysis and reporting to support business decisions. Preparing and reviewing annual/quarterly budgets, forecasts and financial reports. Developing and implementing economic policies and procedures in the company.

Should I put CPA on LinkedIn? ›

The headline and summary sections are your virtual handshake on LinkedIn. For CPAs, the headline should clearly state your designation as a CPA and can include your current role, area of expertise, or industry focus, such as tax, audit, or advisory services.

What is the soft skill for accountant? ›

Oral communication

Mastering what to say and how to say it is one of the biggest steps an accountant can take toward ensuring their client relationships are successful. Plus, teams that can effectively communicate together will always be more productive.

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