What personal traits make an excellent accountant?

traits of an accountant

The right educational qualifications, the relevant technical skills, and the passion towards work make an individual successful in their selected field of job. However, there is some other requirement that can be added to the above list. Personal traits of the individual doing that work help them shape their professional trajectory and the company’s growth path. Companies look for such personal characteristics as they contribute to positive company culture and bring better communication and interaction among employers, employees, colleagues, clients, and vendors.  

An accountant is one such job where the soft skills matter a lot in addition to the job qualifications. Some of the top qualities that an accountant must have are listed below: 


Accountants deal with information about their clients’ financial health and condition daily. Therefore, the ability to maintain secrecy is their key personality trait. They are expected to avoid talking about any client to any third party. It helps in trust development in the minds of the clients, thereby contributing to the development of long-term relationships with them. 


The world of an accountant revolves around numbers, figures, data, and paperwork, and a small error in any of these would lead to substantial financial loss for the clients. Therefore, the accountants must have to pay attention to detail to avoid missing out on any number and obtain accurate calculations. They must double-check their work to ensure accuracy.


Accountants are required to collaborate with multiple departments for obtaining details from them and imparting strategic insights to individuals who may not understand numbers the way they do. Therefore, communication and collaboration with different personalities is a key prerequisite to enable smooth interaction between different departments and efficacious associations with clients.  


Readers would be surprised by the mention of this trait. But yes! It is a critical attribute for an accountant. Accountants might have to deal with unconventional, never-seen-before cases for clients. These cases require some out-of-the-box thinking to come up with new solutions that help in forming a new perspective or an effective approach. Such different, creative thinking enables the accountant to address the client’s problem efficiently.  


Accountants manage each of their clients’ accounts daily to ensure the best financial management for them. They are engaged in tax planning, preparing accounts, auditing financials, compiling reports, budgeting, analyzing numbers, financial forecasting, risk analysis, and many more. Furthermore, they have many deadlines to follow as per the regulatory requirements. With so much on their plate, they have to multi-task based on the priority of each task. Hence, they must have good time management skills to facilitate the successful completion of each task.  


Accountant’s clients may need their advice at any given time when a business situation arises, or a decision is required to be made. The accountant-client relationship must be such that the client can call the accountant at any time when the urgency arises. An accountant must be responsible enough to shift the pressure of financial problems from clients’ shoulders onto their own. They must prove their dependability in the times of need and be approachable for any communication around any financial issue.  


The subject of accounting is continuously changing, owing to changes in the law, taxes, regulations, guidelines, and processes. Therefore, accountants keep themselves up-to-date on all the new developments, strategies, and technology changes in their subject along with a deep understanding of each. It helps them to remain relevant, viable, and applicable in the current times and serve the client well with the latest updates. 


For a layman, what comes across as just a small number is a big detail for an accountant. Therefore, they keep themselves organized at every step by employing an efficient organizing system to find information easily. This helps them to avoid missing out any minor detail – be it a small number of trivial paperwork. This is beneficial to them as well as the clients in accessing any data or file required at a later date, thereby optimizing productivity.  


Accountants must be flexible enough to adapt to any changes that occur in the economy and the client’s business sector. These changes may pertain to technology, regulatory changes, reporting amendments, and working environments. They must embrace these challenges, take advantage of their adaptability, and respond to them with quality services.  


Accountants have to deal with multiple deadlines in a year related to submission of client’s accounts, reports, auditing, tax returns, and others. When such pressures mount due to urgent needs, accountants must remain level-headed and calm instead of taking stress. Such stressful situations may lead to minor errors, which do not have a place in an accountant’s job. Hence, accountants must be able to work efficiently under pressure and never lose focus of what needs to be done.  

It’s easier to be a good accountant and a bit difficult to be a better accountant than your peers, but the real challenges lie in being an exceptional accountant. In addition to the educational qualifications and technical knowledge, the above-mentioned attributes make you the best accountant. Hence, stand out as an excellent accountant with these adjectives.  

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