Accountancy in times of global crisis
As the world reels under the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, Governments and the business community have learned just how important the accounting industry is as many countries are considering accounting “essential” and have leaned on accountants to help ensure small businesses are able to get stimulus funds that have been offered.
From putting together financials, to completing applications and interpreting how the stimulus proceeds will affect a business’s taxes, the accountant has been front and center as a partner in making sure small businesses have the resources and information available to them that will help to keep them in business.
Now, maybe more than ever, the accountant is going to be recognized as a vital partner in the business owner’s team and if you’ve been considering a career in accounting, you’ll be in good company.
Here’s some ways you can prepare yourself to be an essential accountant in the future:
You should work toward earning your CPA license.
The CPA license is the gold standard for accounting credentials. It requires a level of accounting and business comprehension that business owners and the public have come to respect. That’s why the CPA is highly sought after.
It also shows commitment to doing hard work. The exam is not easy and pass rates for some of the exams are less than 50%.
The exam is comprised of four sections and covers topics such as finance, technicology, accounting, auditing, and tax. It’s best to prepare for the exam with a quality review course and of course having a mentor to help push you will increase your odds of success.
After passing the exam, you’ll be in high demand in the accounting industry and you’ll have the skills necessary to help be an asset to the business world, especially at a moment in time like now.
Always be learning
The accounting industry has come a long way from green shades and ledger paper and the technologies that accountants need to employ will only become more complicated as time goes on. Increasing your IT skills should be a focus of a 21st century accountant.
The pandemic has provided a strong impetus for business to adopt 21st century technology, including remote work strategies.
This will create opportunity for both theft and errors on the part of the users of this technology and qualified accountants who are tech savvy are going to be part of a solution that allows businesses to safely implement these technologies.
Unlike those professionals working in the healthcare industry, accountants are able to help business owners remotely. Remote working is likely to become more commonplace
Work on improving your communication skills
Accounting is no longer a career where you’ll be locked in a closet working furiously on your 10 key. As your client’s accountant, you’ll be a highly valued partner in the business process and even more so during a tumultuous time like the pandemic.
Governments all around the world have created stimulus programs to help keep businesses alive during the shutdown, which often have come with very confusing and stringent rules.
Your clients may not have a good working knowledge of tax and accounting as it is and adding in a pandemic and funding with very specific rules will create a lot of tension and anxiety for your clients.
Your ability to effectively community the rules and strategies to help your clients obtain funding and successfully navigate the pandemic will be paramount in making sure your clients survive this tumultuous time.
Communication skills are not a set skill and can and always should be improved. You can take advantage of communication classes or attend speaking groups like Toastmasters. Anything where you get feedback is critical (self-evaluation is useful but not always the best to improve a soft skill).
Your opinion and expertise matter to your clients and being able to share it with them is going to be very important in yours and your client's future success, especially in a pandemic like the one we’re in or the next inevitable challenge that we’ll face.
The pandemic is one of many challenges the world will face and accountants have proven to be essential in helping to save business owners’ livelihoods. Accountants have always been vital, but COVID19 has shone a spotlight on just how important the industry is.
As you prepare for a career in accounting, you should be working toward improving your technical skills by getting your CPA license and taking as much technology-related training as you can. But you’ll also need to be able to communicate with your clients so working on your communication skills will be especially important.
By focusing on these things, you’ll not only future-proof your career, but you’ll also be a hugely valuable asset to the members of your community.
Bryan Kesler, CPA is an eager CPA exam mentor with a goal of helping at many accountants pass the CPA exam as possible. He is the founder of Ultimate CPA Exam Guide a leading CPA exam mentorship company. You can follow him on Facebook.