20 Accounting Skills for Your CV (Plus How To Improve Them)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 30 August 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A strong accounting skills section on your CV can be your employer's first introduction to your qualifications as a candidate. Typically, you should include both hard skills and soft skills since they each show how likely you are to fulfil the responsibilities of your role and collaborate with your co-workers. Understanding the skills top talents possess in accounting can help you increase your employability. In this article, we discuss the key skills to list on an accounting CV and provide examples to help you write your own.

What are accounting skills?

Accounting skills are what you learn during your accounting education and experience. These are skills that apply directly to your daily accounting tasks, such as using accounting software, advanced mathematics and accounting standards and practices. Technical skills show an employer that you're educated, experienced and possess the necessary skills to perform your job effectively. More advanced technical skills may also increase your employability and visibility to new employers and your competitive advantage in the accounting industry.

Related: Account Manager Skills: Definitions and Examples

Top 20 accounting skills for your CV

Here are the top 20 skills for your CV that are related to accounting:

1. Standards of accounting

Skills in standard principles of accounting, such as the International Financial Reporting Standards or pro forma accounting, ensure a minimum level of consistency when preparing financial statements. These standards include a common set of principles and procedures for accountants to follow in preparing financial statements. By following these standards, you can experience fewer errors and show a manager that you're able to perform your tasks well.

2. Knowledge of regulatory standards

Since accounting requires managing a company's finances, it's important to have an understanding of regulatory standards surrounding corporate and public finances. The Securities and Exchange Commission and Public Company Oversight Board establish and enforce regulations to protect investors and market integrity. Understanding applicable regulatory standards are important to ensure compliance in meeting financial reporting requirements and integrity in accounting.

Related: Careers in Finance (With Types, Requirements and Job Roles)

3. General business knowledge

As a support function, accounting often requires collaboration with employees in other departments or industries. General business knowledge allows you to have the basic understanding necessary to work with industries outside of finance. An understanding of general business operations allows you to more accurately assess, record and report their financial needs.

4. Software proficiency

Accounting requires proficiency in various software such as word processing, spreadsheet applications and specialised accounting software. Specialised accounting software assists with maintaining a chart of accounts, managing the general ledger, reconciling accounts and generating financial statements. A job in accounting also requires being up-to-date with the latest technology, which may help you remain competitive as businesses move towards accounting automation.

5. Data analysis

Data analysis is a necessary skill for accounting. It involves the ability to derive meaningful information from raw data. Data analysis allows accountants to create informational financial reports based on financial data such as account budgets, revenue and expenses. It also allows accountants to verify the accuracy of financial data for data integrity and reporting consistency.

6. Attention to detail

Attention to detail is very important in accounting. This skill involves the ability to review and identify inconsistencies in large amounts of data or information. Attention to detail is necessary to ensure consistency and accuracy in financial reporting. It allows you to verify financial data and generate accurate financial statements. Strong attention to detail indicates that you emphasise accuracy and consistency in financial practices.

7. Effective communication

Effective communication is the ability to convey ideas and information in ways others can understand. An accounting role requires this skill for both written and verbal communication between individuals and groups. In an accounting role, you may be responsible for preparing and presenting budget proposals, quarterly tax reports and other financial reports.

8. Mathematics skills

As an accountant, you work with simple and advanced mathematical principles daily. This requires a firm understanding of mathematics, such as adding, multiplying and statistical analysis. These skills show an employer that you possess the necessary skills to be accurate and efficient in your accounting duties.

Related: What Is a Financial Controller?

9. Critical thinking

Critical thinking skills are important because accounts work with complex data sets and create predictions. This requires a critical mindset, the ability to recognise details and errors quickly and creative problem-solving techniques. These show your employer you're able to think for yourself and solve problems.

10. Adaptability

Adaptability is an important skill for accountants because the way they may need to handle, track and perform financial actions is constantly evolving. Adaptability allows you to grow with industry changes and enhance your competitive skills in the industry. This shows an employer you're a good long-term investment as an employee.

11. Clerical skills

Clerical skills, or office skills, are some of the core accounting skills you need. The ability to use a computer, phone and other office tools can help you acclimate to a new work environment and provides a basis for your skill set. This shows employers that you can function well in an office setting with minimal training, reducing the initial training costs for the business.

12. Financial reporting

Accountants are familiar with all reporting requirements for regulatory agencies. These reporting skills help you create the correct reports, submit them to the right places and keep the business in compliance. This is an excellent skill that employers look for to ensure they're hiring conscious accountants who won't jeopardise business operations.

13. Tax code skills

Tax laws and codes are an important part of the accounting process because businesses pay taxes on sales and income. Accountants with good tax skills understand how the tax code works, how to file tax forms and what taxes a business pays. This is a valuable addition to the company because it eliminates the need for the company to hire a tax professional and an accountant, giving you a competitive advantage over other accountants.

14. Spreadsheet skills

Accountants often work with spreadsheets and are familiar with basic and advanced spreadsheet operations and commands. Spreadsheet expertise can help make you a more efficient organiser and accounting professional. Employers expect accountants to at least be able to use the basic functions of a spreadsheet to track income, expenses and make predictions.

15. Account management

Accountants often oversee specific accounts for the company, such as business or customer accounts. This requires account management skills like organising and tracking information and software proficiency. These skills can make you a more desirable candidate because you can serve in multiple roles as an accountant.

16. Payroll skills

Accountants often handle a company's payroll and therefore must be knowledgeable in payroll compliance laws, tax codes and how to ensure employees receive compensation. Typically, businesses use specific software for payroll, so you may need proficiency in payroll software as well. An accountant familiar with payroll is a significant addition to a company because they can track income and expenses and ensure the company pays everyone for their work.

17. Invoicing skills

You may need to create invoices during your accounting career, so having some familiarity with the process can make you a more competitive accounting candidate. Employers may depend on you to draft, approve and send invoices to customers. You also might track invoices for payments and follow up for non-payment.

Related: Essential Qualities of a Powerful Team Player

18. Accounts payable and receivable skills

Accountants typically oversee the accounts payable and receivable portion of the business. This means you may pay vendors, manage their accounts and accept payments on the company's behalf. Understanding the processes, tools and policies of accounts receivable and payable can make you a more qualified accountant and a good addition to the company.

19. Budget forecasting

As an accountant, you might forecast the company's budgeting needs based on your previous accounting reports. Using spreadsheets and other software, you can help the business plan for an increase or decrease in financial resource needs in the future. Employers might prefer a candidate with extensive successful budget forecasting experience so they can reduce potential business costs.

20. Research skills

Accountants typically research laws and company histories, such as transactions and other information, to increase the accuracy of the accounting process. This requires good research skills, which can make you a more appealing candidate to an employer because you can solve problems on your own, with your own research. This independence usually means the employer spends less time on training and developing your research skills.

How to improve your skills

Here are some ways you can improve your skills in accounting:

  1. Focus on data analysis. Data analysis is a crucial skill for accountants because they spend much of their time analysing data. Focus on learning more about data analysis, how it's changed and how technology is changing it currently and potentially in the future.

  2. Pursue higher education. You can always pursue higher education as an accountant to increase your knowledge and skill set. Most accountants hold at least a bachelor's degree, but there are graduate programmes available that take anywhere from two to four years to complete.

  3. Diversify your experience. Choosing different accounting niches or workplaces can help you diversify your accounting experience and skills. You might learn a new way to perform a specific accounting process or learn new software by changing jobs.

Explore more articles