5 skills to get you from bookkeeping to accounting or auditing
Love to crunch numbers? If you do, you've already taken the first step toward becoming an accountant or an auditor. Your passion for digits, decimals, and reports could earn you more money.
If you're working as a bookkeeper and you want to take your career to the next level, work on developing the following important skills:
As a bookkeeper, the main function of your job is to record financial transactions. Accountants and auditors do even more. They analyze financial reports, verify their accuracy, and make recommendations based on what they discover.
You do not necessarily need to go to college to learn accounting. However, most accountants have a bachelor's degree. If you don't have the time to go back to school, focus your efforts on learning the principles of accounting. You may find free online resources. Alternatively, you could strike up a friendship with someone who works as an accountant and is willing to mentor you.
Keep in mind, however, that if you wish to work as a certified public accountant, a bachelor's degree is considered to be the minimum level of education.
Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable
Accounts payable and accounts receivable are both key financial indicators for a company. Accounts payable are the accounts that a company owes money on, whereas accounts receivable are the accounts of others who owe the company money. A business has a right to collect on accounts receivable and can count these as assets.
You may be able to learn these skills via your own studying, but it is best to have a qualified teacher guide you through the process. You may be able to earn a certificate from a reputable online course for only a couple hundred dollars.
A bank reconciliation is when you examine a bank statement and compare it to a company's account records. This process helps keep accounting information up to date and gives the company a realistic view of how much money they've spent and how much they have left to spend. Sometimes specialized software is used to carry out bank reconciliations.
Bank reconciliations are a basic accounting skill, and you're likely to learn how to do it even if you just take a bare-bones accounting course. If you're not taking any courses, do some online research on the process and then talk to someone with experience in the procedure who might be willing to train you.
A general ledger is the record of all of a company's transactions. It has information about liabilities, assets, revenue, equity, and expenses. As a bookkeeper, you're probably already familiar with the ropes of the general ledger. If you have questions about the meaning behind any of the numbers or on how to analyze the figures, talk to your more experienced coworkers or dive into a basic accounting class.
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Some soft skills are also essential if you want to go from bookkeeping to accounting and auditing. Those skills include the following:
- Attention to detail. If your mind wanders or if you often miss little things that make a big difference, train yourself to slow down and double check your work.
- Communication. Accountants and auditors have to communicate with company executives and other employees in the company. Work on expressing yourself clearly, respectfully, and concisely.
- Business savvy. The more you understand about the overall operations of a business, the more desirable you are to that business's hiring manager.
- Customer service. You may occasionally have to deal with a company's clients. When you're friendly and know how to explain complicated matters to people who don't have your expertise, you can become a customer service star.
- Critical thinking and problem solving. When you take on greater responsibility, people will look to you to solve complicated problems. Learn to think outside the box so you can tackle even the trickiest issues with confidence.
The leap from bookkeeping to accounting and auditing might seem like a big one, but the transition doesn't have to be scary or insurmountable. When you educate yourself and gain the right experience, you can be ready to snatch your dream job when it opens up.