Skip to main content


December 2018 Accounting & Audit Channel

Top 5 Skills Modern Accountants Need in 2019

Kurt Avarell, Founder & CEO, Canopy

To achieve success, accountants must understand the importance of investing in themselves. This means building up their skills beyond crunching numbers and preparing tax returns. It’s important for modern accountants to improve valuable skills and build on their strengths in areas outside of accounting to ensure their firm will thrive.

Investing in personal skills is always going to pay off, personally and professionally. As they work to improve existing strengths and build new skills, accountants will contribute to growth, tackle obstacles, improve workflow, and strategize to achieve short-term and long-term goals at their firm.

Here are five of the most important abilities and skills that differentiate successful accountants from others.

1. Business Insight

For an accounting firm to thrive, its leaders must be business-savvy and able to see the big picture. In many ways, a managing partner or owner must be an expert in many different aspects of running a business, from hiring and human resources to marketing and customer service. Being wise about running a successful business also requires the ability to be adaptable and make changes for the betterment of the company. Without an understanding of basic economics and good business practices, accountants won’t be able to exercise strategic thinking and grow the firm as desired.

2. Analytical Abilities

Analytical skills encompass a range of abilities that help with problem-solving and analysis. They are especially valuable when managing an accounting firm. Analytical skills are important in providing solutions for productivity issues and in making decisions. Key analytical skills include critical thinking, data analysis, communication, and creativity. Using analytical skills, accountants can identify errors and problems, then figure out resolutions.

3. Technologically Savvy

Technology is transforming nearly every aspect of accounting, from interacting with clients to workflow management software programs. Today’s accountants must be comfortable in discussing new technology and figuring out the best way for it to integrate into the firm. Of course, the technology should be upgraded every few years to keep up with inevitable changes and advancements. Accounting firms that don’t embrace the world of information technology will soon be left behind by their competition.

4. Regulatory Knowledge

This skill set is often overlooked, but accountants that have a firm understanding of regulatory knowledge for the industry will always be a step ahead. Accounting regulations are the standards and procedures that uphold the country’s accounting practices. Accountants should also know what tax regulations and laws affect an accounting firm. This also includes tax laws and how they affect the current accounting industry and by extension, each client’s financial interests.

5. Customer Service

Customer service skills require more than just being nice to the clients. It includes maintaining professional relationships, anticipating the client’s needs and doing whatever it takes to retain existing clients. Customer service is also related to marketing, including learning how to reach the target market for the accounting firm and building the brand. From baby boomers to millennials, clients will respond positively to the accounting firm that consistently demonstrates that it can meet all their financial needs.

More than ever, accounting firms need leaders who can do more than calculate numbers and create spreadsheets. Even the most talented accountants won’t be as successful if they don’t possess other skills that help their accounting firms stand out from the competition.

Kurt Avarell is the Founder & CEO of Canopy.



Accounting & Audit Social Media:

5 Habits of Highly Exceptional Accountants. MACPA blog.

How to Tie Executive Compensation to Sustainability. Harvard Business Review.

5 Cybersecurity Frameworks Accountants Should Know. AICPA Insights.

FASB Improves the Accounting for Collaborative Arrangements. Wolters Kluwer blog.

Lack of Consensus Reigns with Blockchain. Bloomberg blog.


Top Accounting & Audit News:

AICPA Honors 26 Young CPAs for Forensic and Valuation Work. The recipients were recognized for assisting government agencies in a child trafficking and money laundering investigation.

Special Accounting Guidelines Apply to Movies and TV Shows. For films, production costs are capitalized. For episodic content, costs are capitalized subject to a constraint based on contracted revenues.

University of Florida Names Philanthropy Award for Accountant. The univeresity recently honored two advisors with the inaugural “Gary Gerson Award for Advisor Excellence.”

5 Ways CEOs Can be More Efficient. Green lists five ways for CEOs to change behaviors that obstruct them from leading their company efficiently and effectively.

How to Reduce Fraud in Cross-Border Payments. Varied, unique workflows to handle cross-border transactions create detours adding operational costs related to transaction fees, time, and manual labor.


See inside December 2018

In Firm: 2019 IT Predictions and 2018 Results

The increasing rate of technological evolution and of software vendors attempting to integrate with that evolution continues to happen at a fever pitch. With that in mind we offer our predictions as to those items that we believe will have the highest ...


December 2018 Tax & Compliance Channel

No More Deductions for Work Expenses & Mileage By Ken Berry, J.D., CPA Practice Advisor Tax Correspondent Notably, the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) scales back deductions for certain itemized deductions, including state and local tax (SALT) payments and mortgage interest. But another lesser-noticed crackdown may be just as significant. Effective for 2018 […]