Research Paper On Accounting Professional Skills
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In the professional accounting work environment, a number of leadership and organizational skills are necessary for the successful dispensation of tasks, assignments and objectives. In this paper, I shall enumerate some of the invaluable skills that through my academic and professional engagement, I humbly submit are requisite for successful management and dispensation of duties. From the outset, it is imperative to note that accounting remains a profession mainly because of the ethical and professional standards instilled and ingrained in the professionals. In that context, regardless of the composition of one’s skills, the toolbox must inevitably contain a subscription to professionalism and ethics which inform the bedrock of accounting functions.
One skill regularly parroted in academia is prudence. One may be led to believe that prudence merely applies for cost accountants who have to regularly deal with matters of costs. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Prudence must and ought to inform all decisions in accounting. Whether in financial reporting, internal auditing or cost accounting, an accountant requires the skill of prudence. He must assume that operations are below the means and ensure that safety measures are put in place. Prudence enables organizations avoid financial setbacks and quagmires as anticipated contingencies are often put in place.
Secondly, an accountant requires observational skills. This calls for an observant mind whose thought process is clear. A blurred mind would easily not notice even the obvious. In accounting any mistakes would have financial implications and a small omission or commission somewhere usually has the character of spiraling into other areas. In that context, it is necessary that one remains calm with a clear mind. One must observe all the processes with the due attention required. In making financial estimates, for instance, a blurred mind would not remember overheads and would merely concentrate on the main costs. However, an observant mind would easily pick the omission and provide for its inclusion. The observant mind, therefore, is invaluable where even the petty details matter to the overall product in the organization. Unfortunately, the financial nature of accounting work requires that even petty details are given the due attention they deserve.
In addition, accounting management requires conflict resolution skills. In conflict resolution, one must know one to reconcile the opposing and often contradicting mindsets. One needs a fine fiber in dealing with contesting egos. In that context, an accountant needs the patience and understanding. It is advisable to study emotional intelligence so as to be able to communicate with the emotions of the individuals. This is because resolving conflicts goes deep in the success of the organization; when the employees have individual conflicts that go unresolved, the negative effects would inevitably show their faces in the final outcome of the work. The same necessarily invites accounting managers and human resource managers by extension to conflict resolution. It is noteworthy that studies suggest that conflicts if well resolved lead to the growth of the organization rather than its decline.
Accountants equally require honesty in their work. It is not lost on us that accountants often stand in as stewards. Financial stewardship necessarily places accountants in positions of power and decision making where money and assets belonging to others are placed under their (read accountants) control. Many times, accountants would be faced with conflicts of interest where one desires to appropriate the finances for one’s own benefits. It is only accountants who have honesty in their arsenal who navigate such extraneous and tempting conditions without committing what in common parlance is referred to as robbery by the pen. In practice, however, it must never be lost to an accountant that with effective auditing trails, it is often possible to trace the creative and fictitious accounting approaches employed by fraudulent accountants. In that regard, the virtue of honesty remains a potent weapon that ambitions and forward looking accountants cannot afford to lose.
As if those are not enough, accountant must be futuristic. In that context, I mean accountant must not merely account for finances for the day; they must inquire into the future. In futuristic management, accountants are called upon to evaluate all manner of risks and conduct risk management and risk mitigation activities. It is such practices that ensure the going concern of the organization is not threatened. That way, all the people including the shareholders and employees who rely on the organization for their daily bread are assured of a better future colored with financial prosperity.
Another leadership trait critical for the success of the accountant is inclusivity coupled with consensus building. The same can be read together with conflict resolution. However, while conflict resolution goes to the resolution of conflicts, consensus building worries about developing a work together attitude in the organization. Consensus builders ensure that the desires and wishes of all stakeholders are taken into consideration and some breathing space afforded to each player. Further, inclusivity ensures that the diversity in the organization is built upon for the betterment of the organizational wellbeing. One mode employed in consensus building is the teamwork where employees are assigned in groups. In that approach, team work is preferred as opposed to individualism which looks particularly at individual performance. In accounting, work is organized in different phases and auditing standards require that different teams conduct different phases for purposes of accountability. For instance, raw materials are sourced by the purchases department, and then stored by the inventory department. The raw materials would then be released to the production department who add value before releasing the processed goods to the sales and distribution department who have to liaise with the marketing department. In essence, this calls for teamwork. In large organizations, this could mean dealing with workers scattered all over the world. In that context, accountants within different departments must have communication, relational and teamwork skills. While it is not often possible to trace the overall product to one particular department, any flaw in any department would negatively impact the entire organization. Indeed, the place of communication and teamwork cannot be overemphasized.
Finally, accounting is a duty to accountability and transparency. Like in any department that deals with money, it requires sufficient and uncensored transparency and accountability. Every manager and worker must be ready to account for the spending of any penny. It is demanded of accountants to ensure that every transaction is recorded and an open channel of communication is maintained for purposes of conducting audit trails. In the spirit of transparency and accountability, an entire functionary of accounting relates to auditing which deals with the historical analysis of the transactions within the firm. However, be that as it may, risk assessment for the future purposes is increasingly gaining currency.
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