Going Back to College After Building a Family: Tips

5 Soft Skills Accounting Students Should Develop Now

As you learn to work in accounting, you will undoubtedly hear a lot about specific skills — things like journal entry, invoice tracking, meeting payroll deadlines, or following GAAP standards. But what about the soft skills you'll need in your career? Which intangible skills should you develop in order to be more successful in any accounting environment? Start with these five vital, but often more subtle, soft skills.


Accounting is more than just crunching numbers. You will also be called upon to translate those numbers into useful information that other departments and managers can use to make decisions. In addition, accounting staff need to be able to work with a variety of other employees, use multiple forms of communication (such as email, text, notices, and face-to-face meetings), and manage potential conflicts. 

Team Work

Accountants may work on their own or with individual clients, but employees in accounting departments generally must work in a team. Along with working with others inside the accounting staff, you'll also work with employees, vendors, and management. The more you can learn now to work successfully with others toward a shared goal, the more valuable you'll be to your employers and coworkers. 

Problem Solving

Many aspects of accounting work involve being presented with problems and finding solutions to them. A payroll technician might need to get everyone's hourly information before a deadline. Accounts payable will receive invoices that don't match purchase orders. Or a bank statement may not reflect the same transactions as the books do. Problems in accounting range from interpersonal to technical, but you'll need to be able to figure out how to resolve them all.

Public Speaking

As you grow in your accounting career, you'll likely be called upon to address groups of people. You might need to present a report to management, train a group of new employees, or address a concern at your department meeting, for instance. Since most people are uncomfortable with public speaking, you should work hard to lessen your fear and become more comfortable with it. 


Most accounting personnel juggle many different projects and priorities at the same time along with large amounts of data or documents. Can you keep yourself organized and manage multiple tasks? Are you physically organized, knowing where everything is and do you take the time to make use of organizational systems? If not, make an effort to become better organized and manage your own time and attention to get things done in a timely, logical manner. 

An accounting school is a great place to hone these and other necessary soft skills before you need them. The more you do so, the better prepared you'll be to excel and thrive at your new career. Get more ideas about how to do this by meeting with your school counselor or mentor today.