Management Accounting is a great field to build your career on. It has prospects, if full of promise and as far as the money you can make goes, things are looking rather good. But, all of these are only valid if you prove yourself to be efficient and good at what you do. With qualifications accessible right now, management accountants can be a dime a dozen really, and standing out among all those strong candidates isn’t something of a cakewalk. But, it’s not entirely impossible either.
What you should focus on as you begin your career, or even if you are working right now and feeling like you have seen no career growth, are your management accounting skills. Here are 10 core skills that every successful management accountant must have. See how many of them you can tick off.
Commercial awareness that is on point
You can have general business skills and good management accounting skills but do you know about the external factors and the contributors of the immediate commercial environment that play a role in your company’s finances? Do you know the drivers of your company’s numbers? Stay updated always.
Keep up with technology
Use technology to your advantage. Gone are the days where you would manually write and calculate and take hours on balancing sheets. There are efficient ways of doing that via technology now and they are meant to make your work easier and more accurate. Knowing how to use them immediately makes you an asset to your company. The software in demand currently are;
- Reporting tools: Hyperion, Cognos, TM1
- ERP systems: SAP, Oracle, Sage
- Microsoft Excel (macros, pivot tables)
How well can you collaborate?
You should be an excellent team player, within your department and with other personnel. If you want to be involved in high powered decision making, you need to earn the respect and trust of your colleagues. That’s something that goes beyond numbers.
Delivering the right information effectively
You should be able to collect the right data quickly and correctly, but you should also be able to deliver that insight to the right audience in the right way at the right time. If you are presenting or delivering reports, especially to people from a non-finance background, you should be able to summarise, address existing issues and give resolutions while also suggesting the way forward.
Attention to detail
If you want to do well, one of the key management accounting skills that you need is attention to detail, and we mean meticulous attention to detail. One small plus and minus or a simple zero can have a chain reaction that you couldn’t even imagine about.
Excellent numerical skills
Needless to say, you should have an excellent affinity for mathematics. It is hard to go to work every day and do your job if you are bored by the sight of lists of numbers, which is why it is important to be a person who genuinely enjoys working with numbers.
Great analytical skills
You may have learnt all the theory that you can and you may have graduated at the top of your class, but what will take you forward in any profession is your ability to take that knowledge, critically analyse it and make it relevant to be applied to real life situations. This is also why working as an intern when you are fresh out of college can help you get a taste of what it means to be really employed.
Ability to make the tough decisions
When you were hired one of the main management accounting skills that would have been expected from you, is your ability to put your foot down and make those tough calls, even if it means that you have to say no to your superior. See, it is always alright to say no, if that no can be backed up with valid evidence that says that your decision is the best one in the interest of the company.
Problem solving skills
Another key component would be for you to have the right problem solving skills so that you can think on your feet. While you are good with numbers, it is also important that you have procedures in place as back up so that you can use them when there is a problem that needs to be addressed.
Patience and perseverance
Working with numbers is not always easy. A lot of the time is it tedious work that requires a lot of patience and hard work for long hours, may be even without a break.
Do you think you have these skills in you? If so management accounting may be a great career choice for you. If you feel that you need to nurture these skills more, get working on it right now, it is never too late.
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