If you’re thinking of making a career change and shifting into an accounting assistant position, congratulations! You’ve selected a job that will always be in demand, where your skills will be appreciated and will never depreciate. (That’s a little finance humor for you.)
But what does it take to be an accounting assistant? What kind of skills do you need — and do you have them?
Here’s an overview of what an accounting assistant needs to know to be successful.
Numbers are your friend.
An accounting assistant doesn’t need to be a math whiz, but it helps to have a good working relationship with numbers, percentages, and basic math skills. Can you run numbers in your head and solve problems without needing a calculator or pen and paper? Does the idea of looking over columns of numbers on a spreadsheet fill you with excitement, not anxiety? The ability to complete calculations quickly and accurately will help you stand apart from the crowd when applying for this kind of job.
Technological know-how and comfort.
Working in the fast-paced world of finance means you’ll need to feel comfortable right away with various accounting software and possess certain skills. Some things can be learned on the job. Still, the more familiar you are with programs like Excel, QuickBooks, data analysis software, business intelligence programs, experience in enterprise resource planning, and programs like Hyperion will all go a long way to help you impress your would-be boss. If, during the interview process, other accounting programs are mentioned that you’re not familiar with, be honest about that limitation but express your interest in learning all the skills and programs needed to be successful. The willingness to learn can go a long way!
Speak the language.
Are you well-versed in financial lingo? Do you know the difference between a bull market and a bear market? Or why the futures market is influential? Your ability to discuss finance and accounting matters with ease and confidence can help differentiate you from other options under consideration.
The ability to be methodical and adaptable at the same time.
This might seem like competing interests, but it comes down to a question of the ability to handle your job under pressure, especially in high-stress situations when decisions need to be made quickly. Can you keep the bigger picture in mind when the details are shifting by the minute? Do you enjoy researching all aspects of a purchase, contract, or other arrangement and using that information to make in-the-moment decisions? Being able to think on the fly because you’ve researched the situation in advance will make you a strong asset to any team. Knowing and being able to assess your priorities in real-time can help you keep a cool head when the pressure’s on as well.
As an accounting assistant, you’ll need to have a good sense of what’s going on across the company and convey that information clearly and quickly at a moment’s notice. Especially now that some companies are splitting their workforce between onsite and remote workers, the ability to communicate well and thoroughly is at a premium. Are you comfortable and confident in virtual meetings? Can you address emails quickly and prioritize them as needed? How are your writing skills? Do you know how to navigate the world of video conference programs — Zoom, Slack, Webex, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, and the rest? The ability to speak with your team and act like you’re all in the same room without missing a beat is critical right now.
An accounting assistant job isn’t just about math. It’s also not just about personal abilities and technology. The willingness to learn any skill you don’t already have while working as part of a team and striving to make your company as successful and efficient as possible will help you start a new job on the right foot.
Take the Next Step in Your Career
At Debbie’s Staffing, we’re in close contact with companies looking for someone just like you. If you’re ready to embark on the next phase of your career, contact us today, and let’s get started!