data analystThe classic image of an accountant is someone with countless sheets of paper on their desk and a calculator in front of them, sorting through endless numbers in order to help a company run as smoothly as possible. For people who like complex and technical challenges, being an accountant can be an immensely rewarding career.

There’s generally two of types of accountants: those who work as a freelancer, taking on a variety of different clients and those who work for a firm as their in-house accountant. It can be very well-paid, with the median accountant salary in the USA coming in at around $70,000. Does it seem like the right career move for you? There are a few things you need to consider before you launch into an accounting career. Read on below to see which three essential skills we have picked.

Are You Good with Numbers?

Math skills are essential if you want to be an accountant. You will need to be able to have a better than average grip on:

  • Statistics
  • Algebra
  • Calculations
  • Arithmetic
  • Calculus

It’s worth pointing out that the vast majority of accounting skills involving math have been vastly simplified due to the rise of computerization. This means that you will need to have a working knowledge of mathematical software and be comfortable working with big sums on spreadsheet systems such as Excel and Google Sheets.

Do You Have The Right Academic Qualifications?

To be an accountant, the minimum requirement is at least a Bachelor’s degree, although a masters and even a PhD in the field can help you start a career with an even higher salary. Once you have a Bachelor’s in the right academic field and want to become a Certified Public Accountant, you will need to be have further qualifications, which requires taking a CPA exam. This consists of four main concepts:

  • Financial Accounting and Reporting
  • Audit and Attestation
  • Regulation
  • Business Environment and Concepts.

This isn’t an easy task. The historical pass rate in the USA hovers between 45 and 55%! Nonetheless, you can be much better prepared  for the exam, if you have a bachelor’s at a top university. For example at Marian University based in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, you can get a Bachelor of Business Administration of Accounting by taking their course, which will set you up for a high paid career at a top firm.

Do You Have Good Social Skills?

Part of being an accountant is telling people what they don’t want to hear, even if it is difficult or even heartbreaking news. If the books aren’t balanced or the person you are working for simply doesn’t have enough money to keep their business going, you may be the one tasked with breaking the bad news. That’s why its important for an accountant to have good social skills to help them break this type of news better. Additionally, accountants with many clients have to maintain a strong level of interaction in order to stand them in good stead for the future, meaning that good social skills are crucial.