Accounting Skills List and Examples

Accounting Skills for Resumes, Cover Letters, and Interviews

Businesswoman working at laptop at office desk
Hero Images / Getty Images

Accounting refers to managing or inspecting someone’s financial records. There are many jobs that involve accounting, including accountant, auditor, comptroller, bookkeeper, accounting clerk, and more. All of these positions require a core group of similar skills.

Accountant Job Description

Accountants collect, organize and track financial information for organizations. They prepare financial reports regarding revenues, expenses, assets, and liabilities for internal use by staff and to meet requirements by the government, shareholders and other external entities.

 

 Accountants conduct audits to determine if client organizations or their own employer is following established legal practices and company policies for financial transactions and record keeping. They prepare reports with their findings and recommend remedies to resolve problems and reduce the risk of law suits and financial losses due to staff errors or criminal activity.

Accountants prepare tax returns to minimize tax liabilities and ensure that income is reported according to the IRS code. They advise clients or management at their firm regarding strategies to limit future tax burdens. 

Public accountants must go through a rigorous certification process that includes passing the Certified Public Accounting (CPA) exam as well as meeting educational and work experience requirements. 

 Employment Outlook

According to the , employment for accountants is expected to grow 10 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations.

Accountants with professional certifications like the CPA designation are expected to have the best job prospects.

 Salary

The median salary for accountants was $68,150 in May 2016 according to the . The bottom 10% earns less than $42,140, while the top 10% earn more than $120,910.

Skills Accountants Need

Accounting requires certain hard skills, such as mathematics and expertise with accounting software. A thorough knowledge of relevant laws and regulations is necessary for many positions. Accountants must be detail oriented, have strong analytical skills, and a facility with computer software such as spreadsheet programs to organize and report financial data.

However, accounting also requires a number of soft skills that you might not learn in school, but will definitely help you land and keep a job. You can use the following list of top, sought-after skills to determine if a career in accountancy might be a good match for you.

Here's a list of accounting skills that employers are looking for in resumes, cover letters, job applications, and interviews. Included is a detailed list of the five most important accounting skills, as well as a longer list of even more accounting skills.

How to Use Skills Lists

You can use these skills lists throughout your job search process. Firstly, you can use these skill words in your resume. In the description of your work history, you might want to use some of these key words.

Secondly, you can use these in your cover letter. In the body of your letter, you can mention one or two of these skills, and give a specific example of a time when you demonstrated those skills at work.

Finally, you can use these skill words in an interview. Make sure you have at least one example for a time you demonstrated each of the top 5 skills listed here.

Of course, each job will require different skills and experiences, so make sure you read the job description carefully, and focus on the skills listed by the employer.

Also review our other lists of skills listed by job and type of skill.

Top Five Accounting Skills

Analytical
Accounting professionals must read, compare, and interpret figures and data. For example, accountants might work to minimize a client’s tax liability by looking at their finances. Auditors might analyze data to find instances of people misusing funds. Being able to analyze numbers and figures in documents is a critical skill for all accounting jobs.

Communication
Accountants have to be able to communicate with other departments, colleagues, and clients.

They might have to communication in person, via email, or over the phone. Accountants also often have to give presentations. Therefore, their written and oral communication must be strong. Often, they have to present complex mathematical ideas in a clear, accessible way.

Detail Oriented
A lot of accounting is about paying attention to the little details. Accounting professionals often wade through a lot of data that they must analyze and interpret. This requires great attention to detail.

Information Technology
Accounting jobs often require knowledge of a variety of computer programs and systems. For example, an accountant might need to use finance-related software systems (like QuickBooks), a bookkeeper might need advanced Excel skills, or an auditor might need to know certain data modeling programs. Having a grasp of IT related to the accounting field will put you ahead of the job competition.

Organizational
Organizational skills are important for accounting jobs. Accountants, bookkeepers, and others in the accounting field must work with and manage a range of clients’ documents. They need to be able to keep these documents in order, and manage each client’s data.

Accounting Skills List

A – G

  • Account Analysis
  • Account Reconciliation
  • Accounting Information Systems
  • Accounting Software
  • Accounts Payable
  • Accounting Processes
  • Accounting Principles
  • Accounts Receivable
  • Accuracy
  • ADP
  • Aging Reports
  • Analytical
  • Analysis
  • Annual Reports
  • Asset Management
  • Attention to Detail
  • Audits
  • Audit Schedules
  • Balance Sheets
  • Banking
  • Bank Deposits
  • Bank Reconciliations
  • Bill Payment
  • Bookkeeping
  • Budgets
  • Business Awareness
  • Cash Receipts
  • Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
  • Chart of Accounts
  • Check Runs
  • Collections
  • Commitment
  • Communication
  • Compliance
  • Computer
  • Corporate Reports
  • Corporate Tax
  • Cost Accounting
  • Credit Management
  • Credits
  • Crystal Reports
  • Debt Management
  • Depreciation
  • Detail Orientation
  • Federal Tax Law
  • Finance
  • Financial Analysis
  • Financial Reporting
  • Financial Software
  • Financial Statements
  • Financial Statement Analysis
  • Fixed Assets
  • Forecasts
  • Forecasting
  • Full Charge Bookkeeping
  • Full Cycle Month-End Close
  • Full Cycle Year-end Close
  • GAAP
  • General Ledger
  • Great Plains Accounting
  • Great Plains Dynamics

H - M

N - S

  • Numerical Competence
  • Oracle
  • Organization
  • Paychex
  • Payroll
  • Payroll Liabilities
  • Payroll Taxes
  • Peachtree
  • Personal Tax
  • Petty Cash
  • Platinum
  • Prepaid Income/Expenses
  • Problem Solving
  • Profit and Loss
  • Professionalism
  • QuickBooks
  • Reconciliation
  • Regulatory Filings
  • Reporting
  • Revenue Projections
  • Revenue Recognition
  • Sales Receipts
  • SAP
  • Special Projects
  • State Tax Law

T – Z

  • Tax Analysis
  • Tax Compliance
  • Tax Filing
  • Tax Law
  • Tax Liabilities
  • Tax Reporting
  • Tax Returns
  • Tax Software
  • Technology
  • Teamwork
  • Time Management
  • Training
  • Trial Balance
  • Vouchers
  • Writing
  • Written Communication
  • Year End Reporting

Read More: List of Accounting Job Titles | List of Finance Skills | How to Get a Job as an Accountant | Accounting Keywords for Resumes