As with many professionals in a whole host of different industries, staying as skilled as you possibly can, helps you hold on to clients, attract new ones, and make yourself or your business, more appealing and respected.

To stay on top of your professional game as an accountant, you should try to hone a series of hard and soft skills, such as those listed below:

Hard skills to hone as an accountant

Easy to define and measure, here are some hard skills worth honing:

  • Staying up-to-date with technology

Try using accounting software to help your business get ahead, particularly during busy times, and learn as much as you can about AI and automation, to help reduce workloads, improve productivity, and improve accuracy rates. It’s also worth brushing up on your skills in digital communication, with the use of such tools as messaging apps, video conferencing, and file sharing to keep you on the same page as your clients, at all times.

  • Familiarize yourself with data analysis

It’s one thing to gather financial data, but it’s not much use without a formal analysis report. Helping a business see its performance in the past, and predict how it might perform in the future, you should familiarize yourself with balance sheets, cash flow statements, and income statements.

  • Get to know industry regulations inside out

While the federal government doesn’t regulate accountants in any official capacity, some accounting activities are regulated by the IRS and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). It’s also worth getting to know regulations that apply to accountants at state and local level.

Soft skills to hone as an accountant

Although a little harder to define than hard skills, soft skills can include the way in which you communicate with clients, and interact with them; here are some soft skills worth honing:

  • Become a leader

Leadership is an important skill to have for an accountant, especially as people and clients look to you for guidance on issues they may have no clue about. If you don’t exhibit good leadership skills, your company may find itself struggling to stay organized, manage deadlines, or communicate with colleagues and clients effectively. If you need to work on your leadership skills, try focusing on creating a work culture and environment that is healthy and supportive, planning work schedules and setting clear deadlines, and perhaps most importantly, lead by example. Don’t do things you wouldn’t want your employees to do, and do all of the things you do wantthem to do.

  • Be adaptive to new situations

By constantly updating and adapting your skillset (and those of your entire team), you can ensure that you don’t become obsolete as an accountant. Just as having a strategy for when new problems arise, can help you cope better and stay afloat should times get hard.

Sometimes, it takes more than just having a good head for numbers to be a truly great accountant. Nowadays, clients expect professionals such as accountants to be well-rounded individuals, with a deep understanding of their role and the industry as a whole, as well as being great communicators and having a strong work ethic. Fortunately, if you’re an accountant with a good head for numbers, you’re halfway there, and may just need to brush up on a few of the skills mentioned above.