Accounting is so much more than crunching numbers and running financial reports. It’s a dynamic and exciting career path in which you use various in-demand technical and advanced skills. In addition to offering opportunities to analyze financial statements and numerical data, a career in accounting also sharpens your skills for solving complex financial challenges and working well with others.
Pursuing an online degree in accounting is an excellent way to gain fundamental accounting skills and the preparation you need for a successful accounting career.
Technical Skills Required for Success in Accounting
At its core, an accounting career requires fundamental skills that enable you to create and analyze financial reports, budgets, and accounting statements. To perform those functions and help your employer make sound financial decisions, you’ll need the following technical skills:
- Mathematical skills: Confidence with basic mathematical functions and more complex formulas such as tax rates, ratios, and fractions
- Data analysis: An understanding of how to interpret financial data and represent it accurately in financial statements and reports
- An understanding of basic accounting principles: Knowledge of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), including how to comply with applicable industry-specific requirements
- Digital skills: Proficiency in Excel, accounting software, and other computer programs, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) software
Critical Soft Skills in Accounting
Like many other functions, accounting has grown more complex as companies adopt new technologies and processes. As a result, it takes more than technical skills to be successful in accounting today. In addition to technical knowledge, you’ll also need to demonstrate proficiency in several soft skills.
These skills will enable you to become an even more valuable team member and improve your chances of landing new job opportunities. As one certified public accountant (CPA) said in a Journal of Accountancy article, “In a world that is becoming more digital, computerized, and automated, soft skills can be the differentiator between two employees competing for the same promotion or position.”
To ensure you have the skills necessary to be competitive for accounting job opportunities, it’s essential to focus on building proficiency in the following soft skills:
- Critical thinking: Asking insightful questions and identifying more efficient ways of doing things
- Problem-solving: Helping your company and team approach and solve business challenges
- Attention to detail: Ensuring error-free reporting and analysis
- Organizational skills: Balancing multiple projects and responsibilities simultaneously
- Communication: Sharing information and breaking down complex concepts to help teams and employees do their jobs
- Teamwork: Working collaboratively with others to accomplish both smaller tasks and more extensive projects
Benefits of an Accounting Career Path
When you possess the technical and soft skills required in accounting today, there are several career paths you can pursue. For example, positions such as accountant, financial analyst, auditor, controller, budget analyst, and many others will all use the basic accounting skills you have learned and honed throughout your education and career.
Furthermore, fundamental accounting skills aren’t just for working in accounting firms. Rather, they are broadly applicable across industries. Although each accounting career path has unique characteristics, many involve transferable skills you can apply in almost any industry, from technology and manufacturing to healthcare and government.
Pursuing a career in accounting can also be quite lucrative. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the 2021 median pay for accountants and auditors was $77,250—much higher than the average U.S. median pay of $45,760. Moreover, the 2021 median pay for similar positions was higher than the national median. For example, the median for financial analysts was $95,570, and the median for budget analysts was $79,940.
If you’re considering when might be a good time to start a career in accounting, market analysis suggests now is a great time. The BLS forecasts a positive future outlook and expects a 6 percent growth in the employment of accountants and auditors through 2031.
How an Accounting Degree Delivers Fundamental Accounting Skills
Pursuing a degree program in accounting can equip you with the foundational knowledge and skills you need for success in today’s exciting accounting career paths. Whether you’re interested in a career change or want to elevate your existing accounting skill set, an online accounting degree can complement your working life. As you continue to work and manage other life responsibilities, you can build your basic accounting skills and learn more about the career paths available to you.
Mount Vernon Nazarene University (MVNU) offers two comprehensive online degree programs to boost your accounting knowledge and skills:
Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Finance
MVNU’s online BBA degree program was ranked as one of the Top 3 Best Online Business Programs in 2018 by Affordable Colleges Online. In addition to core business administration coursework, the BBA in Finance offers an additional emphasis on the finance and investment topics critical for success in today’s job market. This 26-month online program teaches fundamental accounting skills through business accounting classes, spreadsheets for leaders, and financial planning. Upon graduating, you’ll have the preparation necessary to begin a new career in accounting, advance into a more complex accounting role, or pursue a master’s degree program.
Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Accounting
The MVNU MBA program can help you develop the advanced skills required to take your career further. You’ll learn the essentials of business management and leadership, from strategy development to execution. In addition to core MBA courses, the MBA in Accounting offers accounting-specific courses in auditing, forensic accounting, accounting ethics, and more. This graduate-level program can be completed in 19 months, equipping you to quickly take your credentials to the next level. If you’re interested in completing your MBA even sooner, you can also explore our Fast-Track accelerated online MBA program that allows you to complete your MBA degree in as little as one year.
Build New Accounting Skills with a Degree from MVNU
Given its excellent future outlook and transferability across many different industries, an accounting career path has much to offer. In accounting roles, you can apply your math and analysis skills while working with others to solve complex business challenges.
When you pursue an undergraduate or graduate business degree at MVNU, you don’t just get a solid foundation in the technical and soft skills necessary for success in today’s workforce. You also join a community of online learners who are serious about advancing their knowledge and skills while working and managing other life responsibilities.
If you want to take the next step in your educational journey, our enrollment specialists are ready to talk to you. To get started, contact us today.