Even if you’ve never opened a spreadsheet, you might be surprised to find how well your strengths fit with what accountants do.
Here are 10 key traits of successful accountants.
1. They like puzzles. Do enjoy piecing together jigsaw puzzles or figuring out riddles? You might secretly be an accountant. Whether conducting an audit, working through corporate taxes or just figuring out the right way to handle a particular transaction, accountants solve puzzles.
2. They can explain complicated concepts in simple ways. If you’ve ever written a paper about a Bronte novel, boiling down a complex piece of literature into a simple and clear argument, you may have what it takes to be an accountant. Accountants must be able to succinctly summarize and communicate complex ideas in simple, easy-to-understand language.
3. They like working in teams. If you enjoyed group projects, have ever been a member of a sports team or have done volunteer work, you know how fun it is to achieve a goal with group. Accounting is a team sport.
4. They keep looking until they find the answer. Sometimes the first place you look doesn’t have the answer. If you’ve spent hours in the library or on the Internet tracking down facts and data for research papers, you’d probably be a good accountant.
5. They like learning about new people, places and things. When you arrive in a new place, is your first instinct to explore? Life as an accountant means you’re always learning about something new — whether it’s the ins and outs of a new client in the international fashion industry or a new city you’ve just relocated to.
6. They like meeting new people. Accountants work with many people — coworkers, clients, corporate managers, entrepreneurs and others. Accountants get to know many people over their careers.
7. They’re good at planning. Are you the one who charted out the whole semester on the first day of class? The one who planned the spring break trip? You might be an accountant. Accountants need to be able to plan out their work and develop strategies to help clients accomplish their goals.
8. They like figuring out tough calls. Have you spent a little too much time watching SportsCenter highlights of controversial calls — or replaying them in your mind? Are you the tiebreaker when your friends can’t agree on a dinner destination or spring break trip? Accountants often act as referees, helping companies figure out the best way — and the right way — to account for an unusual transaction, for example.
9. They’re organized. If you’re the person others call on when they need help cleaning up and getting organized, you may have been channeling your inner accountant all along.
10. They’re good at helping other people learn. Have you ever tutored a friend in a tough class? Accountants help others learn things — what records to hang on to for tax time, how to record tricky international financial transactions and more.
If some of these characteristics belong to you, take our accounting personality score quiz and find out if you’re secretly meant to be an accountant, and what type of accounting might be perfect for you.
Considering accounting as a career?
Your first step is a Master of Accounting (MAC) degree.
UNC Kenan-Flagler offers a one-year, top 10 MAC in two formats:
1. On-campus for non-accounting majors
2. Online for both accounting and non-accounting majors