Are you the perfect fit for a small business accountant?

Do you have what SMEs look for in an accountant?  Congratulations, if your answer is yes. But, if you feel that you still need to work up on certain attributes to be a small business accountant, you can begin by examining what financial skills SMEs demand. Most businesses generally need an accountant who is professionally competent, trustworthy, and ethical. Over and above these attributes, you need to possess specific qualifications that suit the nature of SMEs in particular. ACCA Global, a professional accounting body which members span across the globe, identified what small businesses require in accountants.  To make sure you can match their requirements, you can check out the list of attributes provided to meet each of their demands. SMEs expect that accountants assist business owners or managers in developing or safeguarding capital.  To be an effective part in building or protecting business wealth, you should be able to exhibit the following skills or traits.

Skills of a small business accountant:

  • Problem solving and research skills.  You should be able to offer solutions or find alternatives when cash flow is tight.  Being able to research on specific issues in the industry or report on technical problems effectively can help SMEs manage the business especially when business prospects are gloomy.
  • Creativity.  Be ready to practice out-of-the-box thinking so that you can discover new approaches to problematic situations. This will be especially useful in finance recruitment or product/service innovation. Textbook approaches may not always fit the business situation.
  • Flexibility. Can you take changes and challenges easily? SMEs may be more susceptible to demographic, economic, technological, physical/natural or legal/political issues.  You may need to check your adaptive skills to keep up with these changes or challenges.

Traits of a small business accountant:

  • Team player.  The stereotypical isolated accountant in their cubicles should not be your image.  You need to conduct regular meetings with clients, suppliers, and the business decision makers. You need to share what you know and be sensitive to what they all need. In other words, you need to know how to collaborate.
  • Great communicator. Sharing your insights effectively or perhaps explaining less technically can help business decision makers.  Communication is also vital in establishing successful relationships.
  • Client focused or client-centric.  Your strong orientation to the business owners’ needs should help them decide which finance policies could best suit the business. Your financial advice can be better appreciated when it also conforms to the values of the business decision makers.
  • Commitment to the business sector.  Have you developed enough knowledge and passion for a specific industry? Having expertise in an industry should provide sound financial insight to the industry SMEs to help them in reducing costs. SMEs require that its accountant can make its finance function as a source of competitive advantage for the business. Can you contribute to the strategic direction of the business?
  • Up-to-date knowledge.  Keeping abreast with the professional standards and developments should help SMEs address financial issues like changes in tax laws.  Have you lately refreshed your knowledge and skills in professional conferences or seminars?
  • Technology Proficiency.  Having knowledge with multiple accounting software can help the business use financial information more effectively.  Have you updated yourself with the popular accounting software that you can either advise to the company or help the SME maximize its use in financial decision making?

How to prepare to be the best small business accountant

ACCA’s campaign gives good insight in how accountants can best provide their financial services to SMEs.  To find out more about ACCA Global and their campaign to increase the awareness of the professional value of accountants to SMEs. You can also derive insight in developing your professional skills and attributes from The Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Do you think the above skills make you the best fit for a small business accountant? Upgrade your technological proficiency now!  

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