Dec 26 2022 / Productivity

Top 7 Soft Skills for Accountants

Top 7 Soft Skills for Accountants
Lisa Chaud

Lisa Chaud

10 Min

When it comes to growing your accounting business, you place priority on delivering core services. However, if you want to become more efficient and accelerate your growth, you will want to master certain soft skills that separate great tax accounting practices from the rest. In this article, we will ask, at what are soft skills? Then we’ll take a look at how they can improve your firm’s operations. 

Soft skills for accounting professionals to Improve operations

Soft skills are essential to growing and operating a more efficient accounting practice.

Soft skills are your non-technical, non-specialized abilities to perform your work and work well with others. We have identified seven soft skills proven  to take your accounting business to the next level. Here, we will identify each one of these soft skills and how you can improve upon them. 

Below are the seven must-have accounting soft skills that will help you and your team become more productive and accelerate business growth:

  1. Communication skills
  2. Time management
  3. Collaboration
  4. Business knowledge
  5. Critical thinking
  6. Marketing 
  7. Technology

1. Communication Skills

​​Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success. — Paul J. Meyer

When we speak about soft skills for accounting professionals, it is important to specifically address both spoken and written strong communication skills. Whether you are talking on the phone to a client or speaking to your team, it is important that everyone is on the same page to move the business forward. 

Why is it important?

The ability to communicate with your clients as well as your team will allow you to become a more effective leader and help keep everyone in the loop. For team members, the ability to communicate clearly can help prevent any confusions or missteps that can potentially disrupt your business. 

How to improve it?

We can look at improving communication in three areas: management communication with team members, team member communication with other team members, and team communication with clients and prospective clients.

  • Management communication with team members
    Management should clearly spell out the responsibilities of each team member including deadlines, benchmarks, and other tasks. Much like a computer, management needs to provide the proper input in order to receive the wanted output. Also, team members should communicate to you that they understand what you are telling them. Finally, team members should have the ability to openly communicate with management to express ideas or concerns. Using a project management software designed specifically for accounting may be helpful in viewing assigning clients to team members, or changing assignments if needed.
  • Team members communicate with other team members
    Employees should have a way to efficiently communicate with coworkers members via email, Zoom, Slack or another communication method. Also, team members should establish regular status updates that can help keep everyone in the loop on their operations.
  • Team members communicate with clients and prospective clients
    Team members should learn how to properly communicate with clients and prospective clients. That includes asking for what is needed from the client such as an invoice payment, document approval, or a signature. Team members should develop problem-solving skills to deal with any issues with clients.
  • Utilize a platform that allows for streamlined communications
    Advanced tax platforms such as TaxDome will allow you to send preset messages to clients such as a request for document review or an e-signature. This allows your firm to communicate quicker with clients and lower turnaround time. Using TaxDome’s Insights dashboard, you can always see who is working on what, and which projects are approaching their due date or otherwise require your attention.

2. Time Management

It is important that both you and your staff make the best use of time in order to maximize profits and ensure client satisfaction. Time management not only includes time doing work, but also time for other tasks such as organizing meetings and dealing with vendors. 

Why is it important?

Clients will want to work with someone who can meet tight deadlines and be able to provide all the services that they need. With poor time management, deadlines can be missed. This could be detrimental if the client needs to meet certain filing deadlines.

How to improve it?

Teams should have a clear schedule as to what needs to get done. Also, a firm should work with an efficient accounting platform such as TaxDome that makes it easy to streamline operations and includes a calendar view of all of your ongoing projects.

As an example, TaxDome can allow firms to create pipelines that help organize and automate a lot of the work that needs to be completed for a given client. Staff members can quickly find out what tasks are a priority and organize their time accordingly. Firm owners and managers can look at insights and the calendar for an overview of everything happening at their firm.

Time Management

TaxDome’s automated workflow makes it easier for your accounting team to complete more tasks and better serve clients.

3. Collaboration

Accounting firms should bring together staff members with complementary skills to help improve efficiency and allow everyone to better understand the firm’s operations. For instance, an accountant can learn a lot about client management from an account manager, while an account manager can better learn the tax services provided by the accountant. 

Why is it important?

Being able to collaborate with others efficiently not only helps complete complex tasks faster, but contributes to a better understanding of overall operations. This makes for more efficient and knowledgeable employees whose contributions are even more valuable to the firm.

How to improve it?

Firm owners can help bring staff members together by leveraging a tax accounting platform such as TaxDome with its various scheduling, organizational and communication tools, and a million other features. For instance, TaxDome offers secure electronic document sharing and unlimited cloud storage, which can help teams work together to better serve clients.

4. Active Learning

As the accounting world evolves, it is important that all staff members from the owner to the junior bookkeepers continue to learn their craft. This is where active learning comes in. This accounting soft skill allows your firm to stay relevant in a changing market. 

Why is it important?

Just about all industries change over time. Accounting is no different. For instance, many accounting firms are dealing with the implications o crypto and blockchain assets and transactions. Accounting firms that develop active learning as a soft skill will be better able to serve their clients and continually acquire new business. 

Active Learning

Active learning allows all accounting professionals to stay relevant as the industry continues to evolve.

How to improve it?

All staff members should be active readers of general business and accounting trade publications. Also, the firm should consider holding continuing education retreats to better understand the latest trends and government updates in accounting as well as in the business world in general. 

5. Critical Thinking

As you run a business, you will have to make a number of business decisions. These decisions may include whom to hire, whom to lay off, and how to market your business. This will involve critical thinking or the ability to understand the pros and cons of any potential decision that you will make. 

Why is it important?

As a principal or an owner of your firm, you will have to make difficult decisions that will affect the overall direction of your business. By understanding the implications of each decision, you will be better able to analyze your options and take decisive action. 

How to improve it?

You can improve your critical thinking by having a system by which you make your decision. For instance, your system may consist of gathering all the facts, identifying what problem needs to be solved, knowing which options are available, and the consequences of taking each action. You can also rely on a tax and accounting software platform to review the performance of each of your employees or seasonal workers and address the issues early on.

6. Marketing

Marketing is the most essential soft skill when it comes to growing your business. If you have any aspirations to grow your market share or expand into other subspecialties, you will have to learn important marketing principles like identifying leads, creating social media campaigns and thought leadership. Also, marketing is essential when it comes to offering additional services to your existing clients. 

Marketing

Efficient marketing skills can help add more clients and sell more services to existing clients at a lower cost.

Why is it important?

Marketing is the key to growing any business. Also, marketing allows you to differentiate yourself from the competition. For example, you can market your firm as specializing in start-up businesses or medical professionals. You can also market your firm’s unique services such as forensic accounting or valuation. 

Finally, understanding your market can allow you to acquire clients at a lower cost. 

How to improve it?

It is a good idea to improve your marketing by looking at case studies of firms that have had success either in your market or in your specialty. Be sure to split-test campaigns and scale up on ideas that provide you with the best ROI (return on investment). Finally, experiment with different marketing channels such as social media marketing, email marketing, and broadcast media. 

7. Technology

Today, there are numerous platforms, apps, and other innovations that will help your firm run more efficiently and reduce costs. 

Why is it important?

Your competition is leveraging technology in order to serve clients better. Also, younger clients are more likely to embrace firms that allow them to handle their accounting needs utilizing newer technologies. 

How to improve it?

Stay up to date on the latest accounting platforms that provide you with more tools to better serve your clients. For instance, TaxDome is an all-in-one accounting platform that allows you and your clients to securely send, sign, review, and receive tax documents. With TaxDome, you can also invoice clients and receive payments. Most importantly, you can automate virtually every step of your process for each client, so that your business is running 24/7.

Technology

TaxDome is an all-in-one platform solution for large and small accounting firms.

Putting Soft Skills to Work for Your Accounting Service

By adding more soft skills to your arsenal, you are better prepared to gain an edge over the competition and better serve your clients. From improving marketing skills to adding the latest technology to your talent stack, soft skills are the key to making your firm an invaluable asset. Let TaxDome be part of your soft-skill growth. Our leading tax platform can help your team better collaborate with your team members and work with your clients to get more done in less time. Contact us today for a free demonstration of what Tax Dome has to offer. 

Lisa Chaud

Lisa Chaud

Lisa is a Marketer at TaxDome. With her experience in B2B and E-commerce, Lisa is passionate about doing marketing research and delivering insights to the community. In her free time, she prefers doing different kinds of sports.

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