3 Tech Skills Every Business Accounting Major Should Know
It's simply not enough for a financial professional to know their way around a balance sheet or a cash flow statement. Today’s financial professionals also need to know their way around computer systems and the tech tools that make the modern accounting landscape more efficient.
As we continue to harness the power of technology to sort through, analyze, and store huge amounts of data, businesses need not only the latest systems in place, but also well-trained professionals who know how to use them. Here are three tech skills that are worth developing as you work toward your bachelor's degree in accounting, both for the sake of your studies today and your job prospects tomorrow.
Know the Basics
To start, having a strong knowledge of generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP, will give you the foundation you need to know exactly when and where to deploy the technical skills you develop.
That said, the benefit of knowing the basics doesn't only apply to accounting concepts. Today’s accounting professionals work with specialized software including custom databases, enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, tax software, and more. As romantic as it may feel to declare your allegiance to paper, pencils, and pocket calculators, employers today expect a familiarity with accounting-based technologies.
The more comfortable you are picking up and keeping up with new software and high-tech systems, the better you'll be at acclimating to technical changes in the accounting field as they develop.
Excel at Excel
Being able to use and master the tools of the trade is vital for success in any field. These tools increasingly take the form of computer software instead of physical objects. If you're an architect, you use CAD. If you're a graphic designer, you use Photoshop. And if you're in accounting, you use Excel.
Even if you feel you know your way around Microsoft Excel, how advanced are you at using it? The truth is, many accounting graduates enter the workforce without the full range of Excel capabilities that accounting firms look for. From sorting and filtering data to pivot tables and macros, Excel is a robust piece of software that advanced users can wield to manage, interpret, and present information.
Getting by on the bare minimum of spreadsheet capabilities may be acceptable while you're in school, but when it comes to entering the job market, both the competition and the rewards are elevated. As you get your résumé ready to pursue a career in accounting, being able to prove you're an "Expert in Excel" will help you stand out from the pack.
Make Your Case
Advanced accounting software helps you see through piles of data to identify the trends and insights that matter to an organization's success. Ultimately, it'll be your responsibility to translate the details of what you've found into actionable intelligence you can share with your department colleagues and the chain of command.
Solid communication skills can serve you very well in technical environments, especially when you effectively use advanced presentation software like Microsoft PowerPoint or Apple Keynote. Don't be surprised if, at some point in your career, you're asked to present your findings to executives and other key stakeholders. If you're equipped with the skills to create a compelling and informative presentation using the latest software, you can increase the impact of your results and better demonstrate your work's value to the team.
Being in accounting involves honing and applying a specialized skillset. As you learn the ins and outs of your chosen field and even after you've found a job, don't overlook the importance of assembling an array of advanced technical skills to keep adding to your portfolio. Doing so may pay big dividends long into your career.
Written by Ashford University staff
For more information about on-time completion rates, the median loan debt of students who completed each program, and other important information, please visit ashford.edu/pd/obaa or ashford.edu/pd/omacc. Certain degree programs may not be available in all states.