Bookkeepers must possess all the technical knowledge and skills necessary to do their job. However, that isn’t considered enough by businesses anymore.
Businesses look for bookkeepers with the knowledge and experience necessary to do their job and soft skills to complement them.
These soft skills may have nothing to do with how a bookkeeper performs different bookkeeping tasks but can significantly enhance the quality of their work.
Why are Soft Skills Important for Bookkeepers and Accountants to Succeed?
Most people think of bookkeepers and accountants as detail-oriented and good with numbers. And while that is certainly true, soft skills are just as crucial for bookkeepers and accountants to be successful.
Some of the most important soft skills for bookkeepers and accountants include:
Being able to communicate effectively. This includes explaining financial concepts in plain English to clients or colleagues who may not be as familiar with them.
Active listening skills. This involves paying attention to what someone is saying and trying to understand their point of view, even if you don’t agree with it.
Emotional intelligence. This refers to the ability to be aware of and manage your own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. It’s important to stay calm under pressure and deal with difficult clients or situations professionally.
The ability to work well under pressure and meet deadlines. This is especially important for bookkeepers and accountants during tax season!
While hard skills are important, having strong, soft skills can make a bookkeeper or accountant even more successful.
What if an accountant does not have soft skills?
In today’s competitive business environment, strong, soft skills are essential for any professional to differentiate themselves from the competition.
If an accountant or bookkeeper does not possess the necessary soft skills, it can hinder their success in many ways.
Without soft skills, an accountant might struggle to communicate financial concepts effectively or build relationships with clients and colleagues.
They might also have difficulty working well under pressure and meeting deadlines, which could lead to projects being handed in late.
A poor understanding of emotional intelligence can also be damaging as it makes it difficult for an accountant to empathize with others and manage their emotions during challenging situations such as conflict resolution.
Overall, having strong, soft skills can go a long way towards making an accountant more successful and giving them a competitive edge over those lacking in this area.
Below is a list of the five best soft skills for bookkeepers. While these are not the only soft skills bookkeepers need to have, they are the most important.
The most important soft skill of all is communication skill. This is mainly because bookkeepers need to interact with almost every business department.
Similarly, bookkeepers need to report their performance to higher management during meetings or outside of them.
This requires them to have communication skills. Another reason bookkeepers need to have communication skills is to share their technical information in a way that is understandable to everyone within a business.
Communication skills consist of the ability to communicate both orally and in writing. Oral communication for bookkeepers will include expressing their ideas and information verbally.
On the other hand, written communications include simple tasks such as writing an email or more advanced tasks such as writing reports. For bookkeepers to succeed, they must excel in oral and written communication.
2) Time Management
Another soft skill that is important for bookkeepers is the skill of time management. More often than not, bookkeepers will find themselves facing strict deadlines.
Even when they are not working with deadlines, they have an endless list of responsibilities they must perform, which requires them to manage the responsibilities in a given amount of time. Time management skills also define the productivity level of bookkeepers.
Time management skills do not require special consideration from bookkeepers but only to do everything on time. However, it is much easier said than done.
Bookkeepers can use multiple time management techniques to become productive, such as prioritizing tasks, allocating time, setting goals, creating timetables, etc.
There was a time when bookkeeping was done manually in large books. However, in the modern world, the manual process has completely been replaced with technology with the help of different software packages.
This means bookkeepers need to learn how to use technology and stay up-to-date with any technological changes affecting them.
There are many different software packages that bookkeepers need to be comfortable using. However, technology skills do not only consist of the ability to use these software packages.
Bookkeepers must be competent in using all aspects of technology to their advantage when needed. Similarly, they must apply technology solutions in their daily tasks to make their job easier.
4) Leadership Skill
Another beneficial soft skill for bookkeepers is leadership. Bookkeepers who demonstrate leadership qualities are generally prioritized over those who don’t.
Some businesses even test their candidates for leadership skills before hiring them. Furthermore, bookkeepers who possess leadership skills are limited to bookkeeping roles and can also move into management positions or directorships.
Leadership is the quality of stepping into senior roles or taking charge when necessary. However, leadership isn’t only limited to that. Leadership also includes respecting others and earning the respect of others.
Similarly, it includes guiding others through difficult tasks and acting as a mentor to them. Lastly, leadership also includes assessing the strengths of everyone in the team and helping them unlock their full potential.
5) Problem-solving Skills
The last best soft skill for bookkeepers is problem-solving skills. Problem-solving skill in bookkeeping is crucial to have. Problems may arise due to different reasons in the bookkeeping process.
Businesses expect their bookkeepers to have the problem-solving skills necessary to resolve any issues during the bookkeeping process, including both expected and unexpected ones.
Problem-solving involves using different techniques to pinpoint the origin of a problem and figure out how to solve it. However, problem-solving isn’t only about solving problems.
It’s also about figuring out the best way to do it. Furthermore, it consists of detecting any irregularities or anomalies in the books of a business and finding their cause.
Top 10 Places Bookkeepers Could Learn Soft Skills Online
- Udemy: Udemy offers thousands of courses on a range of topics, including soft skills such as communications, teamwork, and leadership.
- Coursera: Coursera is an online learning platform offering a range of courses in the business and finance fields, as well as many options to learn soft skills.
- Khan Academy: Khan Academy provides free online courses across a wide range of topics, with some focusing on soft skills such as problem-solving, negotiations, and networking.
- Lynda: Lynda has various tutorials for those looking to learn new business and finance-related soft skills both individually or through classes or certifications.
- Skillshare: Skillshare provides access to thousands of short instructional tutorials from independent creators on various topics including creative thinking, communication, and productivity hacks.
- ALISON: ALISON offers free online interactive courses on a variety of topics that focus on developing personal development skills like problem-solving and decision-making.
- FutureLearn: FutureLearn provides online learning opportunities in areas like business and management with several courses focusing specifically on bookkeeping and enhancing financial literacy skills.
- Codeacademy: Codeacademy provides tutorials for coding language but also offers additional resources for developing core soft skills like time management strategies.
- TED talks: TED Talks provide curated conference presentations from experts around the globe who share their insights on different topics with helpful tips for improving your workplace performance.
- The Open University: The Open University offers a broad range of free courses covering everything from entrepreneurship to creativity which can help anyone enhance their existing business acumen skills.
Bookkeepers can no longer rely on technical knowledge to survive in a business environment. They also need to develop different soft skills.
These soft skills can help bookkeepers with their job and other aspects of a business. The five best soft skills for bookkeepers are communication skills, time management skills, technology skills, leadership skills, and problem-solving skills.