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5 Characteristics of an Accountant

5 Characteristics of an Accountant
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were approximately 1,332,700 accounting jobs
in the year 2014; naturally, not every accountant in the nation performs up to the same standard.
Every accountant worthy of their certification should be expected to thoroughly analyze and
report financial records, but the most essential characteristics of an accountant extend beyond the
bare minimum demands of the job. In addition to being financially literate, top-notch accountants
must also possess a number of personal characteristics to ensure that they can provide the best
possible quality of service.
1. Service-oriented Mindset
No matter how many numbers may be involved in the job, accounting is still primarily a people
business. Accountants must not only be comfortable with financial calculations, but they must
also have a certain level of finesse and enthusiasm in dealing with their clients as people.
Accountants should look forward to directly interacting with their clients in order to build
rapport while learning as much as possible.
In addition to being fully aware of all of the economic and industrial factors, accountants must
also be fully invested in their client to learn as much possible; not only will this demonstrate
genuine care for the client’s needs, but it will also make the accountant far better equipped to
determine what courses of action will be the most relevant for their client’s specific needs.
2. Innovativeness
Just because an accountants trade is primarily in numbers doesn’t mean that there isn’t any room
for creative thinking. The best accountants will never settle for cookie-cutter methods if there is
an opportunity to develop a better solution.
Competent accountants will have the skill to implement unconventional yet effective approaches
to problems that demand more than the textbook approach. The ability to intuitively formulate an
out-of-the box strategy to deal with unique situations must first be developed with experience,
but before that, an accountant must at least be willing to practice and strengthen their innovative
3. Reliability and Trustworthiness
The intimate details that clients share with their accountants must never be leaked to third
parties, neither intentionally nor accidentally. The client must be able have well-placed trust in
their accountant’s ability and willingness to keep vital information confidential at all times; this
is both a matter of professionalism and basic ethics. The impression that an accountant leaves on
their client will likely color the impression that future clients have on them as well, which means
that trustworthiness is essential for both the client’s safety and the accountant’s career.
4. Strong Organizational Skills
The best accountants will always be characterized by strong organizational skills. Every single
bit of data and paperwork must be accounted for at all times, no matter how minor it may seem.
Poor organizational skills will be the Achilles’ heel of even the most naturally brilliant and wellintentioned accountants in the field. Being well-organized ensures that accounts are always
capable of quickly accessing any material they need, which optimizes productivity and frees up
more time for the most important tasks at hand.
5. Vigilance
The state of the economy and nuances of tax law are subject to change at any time, so it is
essential for an accountant to always be aware of the latest amendments. The fact that the field is
constantly in flux is one of the primary reasons why an accountant’s expertise is necessary in the
first place.
Even if the accountant is fully confident in their awareness of all of the fine details, they must
always keep current with the field in order to ensure that their knowledge is still relevant and
applicable. What might have been an airtight strategy months ago may no longer be viable in the
current time, and a high-quality accountant must always be able to react to this scenario before it
becomes an immediate problem.
Some Accounting Challenges and Their Solutions
Accounting teams that leverage technology are better able to adapt to changes and challenges
like some of the unexpected supply chain and revenue interruptions seen in 2020. So, what are
the biggest challenges facing accountants today? Cash flow, hiring new talent, adapting to new
tax and regulatory changes and continuing to adjust to remote work remain some of the largest
hurdles for accounting teams.
Cash Flow
Often when there is economic hardship, or signs that it’s pending, companies move
quickly to ramp up liquidity by implementing cost containment, while implementing cost
containment measures and deferring planned investments. Some of that focus
on improving cash flow will persist into 2021 – especially when it comes to capital
Management and consulting firm McKinsey & Company says that boardrooms have
shifted their focus from earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) to cash – and that has
translated into responsibility for cash management at all levels of the business. But some
of those cost-cutting measures have slowed, particularly those related to workforce and
operations. Businesses are more confident in generating revenue from the changes they
made in 2020 to products or services offerings and pricing strategies. Some 28% of
CFOs surveyed by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in October 2020 expect an increase in
revenue over the next 12 months, a marked increase from just 11% in June 2020.
Improving the efficiency of accounts receivable and accounts payable processes will be
vital to ensuring steady cash flow. Keep an eye on metrics like expenses, past-due
invoices and operating cash flow. Generating and tracking cash reports daily can help you
plan for the future because you’ll see changes or fluctuations you can use to inform other
Financial Reporting
Managing financial disclosures continues to be a concern for public and large private
companies affected by SEC requirements. Finance leaders are concerned about
complying with reporting requirements from COVID-19-related government stimulus
programs and ensuring proper documentation, recording and reporting for audits.
Additionally, changes around disclosure requirements for Environmental, Social and
Governance (ESG) are likely ahead, and accounting teams need to be mindful of a
shifting regulatory landscape.
Hiring and Retaining Talent
Hiring is continuing for accounting and finance roles in technology, health care, property
management, financial services, as well as for positions that keep cash accounts strong.
These roles include billing, accounts receivable and collections.
Retaining top employees as competition intensifies is a key challenge. Some 8 in 10
finance and accounting managers are concerned about keeping valued employees. Two
key areas of concern are low morale and high rates of burnout because of heavy
workloads – the latter being a somewhat perennial issue for accountants. Taking steps to
ensure that key employee retention strategies apply to the accounting and finance
department – such as continued education and training – is one place to start boosting
morale. Helping accountants develop the technical and soft skills to better apply their
domain knowledge to business strategy as more transactional tasks are automated will be
crucial to retention in 2021.
Automation and Artificial Intelligence
Although only some 2% of large firms have implemented machine learning or AI, about
one-in-five indicate they are planning to start. AI implementations are done to address
labor shortages, automate labor-intensive tasks and deliver more insightful data.
As more transactional work becomes automated, accountants will need to develop
different skills to apply their expertise to information and data generated from new
technology and play a role in more of the business strategy. Cloud-based accounting
software, budgeting, forecasting, data analytics and visualization tools are building some
of the foundation for automation in accounting.
As automation increases, boosting existing skills and expertise to leverage the outputs of
technology will benefit employees and your business. Focus on upskilling and learning
more about cloud-based payroll and human resource information systems, enterprise
resource planning (ERP) systems, data analytics and financial modeling and forecasting.
In addition to technical skills, other beneficial so-called soft skills in demand will be the
ability to work independently and in virtual teams, attention to detail, being comfortable
with change, creativity, a desire for continual learning and written and verbal
communication skills. Offering continuing education and training also has the added
benefit of boosting employee morale and retention. Companies ranked highly on
employee training see 53% lower attrition rates than those ranked lower.
Tax Law Changes
Applying changes in tax laws is a common concern for accounting teams. But there’s
even more change in store in 2021 than usual. In his January 2021 newsletter, the
president of the National Conference of CPA Practitioners, Neil Fishman, pointed to the
fact that practitioners would now need to absorb some 5,593 pages of new provisions in
the Consolidated Appropriations Act, better known as the COVID stimulus, on the heels
of a new tax season. This includes tax extenders, deductibility of PPP expenses, the
potential for second-draw PPP loans and a simplified process for PPP loan forgiveness
for amounts under $150,000. Accounting teams have tax changes top of mind, especially
understanding total tax liability and navigating shifting trade and tariff policies.
Effectively navigating the tax law changes can help you have more funds available to
weather other business challenges ahead. Digitized, accurate and easy-to-access records
with accounting software will make a complex tax year more manageable.
Accurate Financial Forecasts
The conditions created by the pandemic made accurate financial forecasting especially
challenging. Business leaders should engage in scenario planning and re-examine
forecasts for sales, expenses and cash. Test and re-test assumptions, model cash flow,
burn rate and liquidity under multiple scenarios.
One of the top accounting tips for small businesses and startups is to use financial
statements to evaluate and predict business performance. Because so much is changing so
quickly, access to real-time analytics is key. That’s what will make the difference in
building financial models that factor in historical trends, current conditions and best,
worst and most likely scenarios.
Environmental Accounting Challenges of Selected Manufacturing Enterprises in
It is evident from, Most of the enterprises are facing many environmental accounting challenges
such as: lack of co-ordination, lack of compulsive guidance, lack of skilled persons, extra cost
involvement etc. these are adversely affecting implementation of E.A. Notably, improper
enforcement of environmental legislation give rise to low adoption of which environmental
accounting challenges is the lowest 52.5%. However, most of the organization is not provide
sufficient information of environmental issue. So far, Government initiatives are not still enough
to build strong platform of environmental accounting for manufacturing industry. It is observed
that, Input relevant to EA is not easily available because of extra cost need to be incurred. Costbenefit yet to recognized and evaluated do not properly consider. Respondents properly opine
that Environmental Accounting work dependent with others. It should be integrated with the
financial accounting, which is not easy. Enterprises in Bangladesh yet to perceive it well that
Environmental Accounting must be analyzed along with other aspects of accounting. Many
enterprises reportedly suffer from lack of skilled persons. In fact the user of information
contained in the Environmental Accounting needs adequate knowledge of the process of EA. The
initiation and operation of E.A in Bangladesh suffers a lot. In Bangladesh E.A operation is
inefficient as there are no generally accepted accounting standards, Regulations, Rules, etc.,
against which the performance of organizations can be compared and evaluated. Lack of
promotion on the use of environmental accounting management, lack of collaboration between
accountants and environmental management departments were major barriers of Environmental
Accounting operation. Finally, a review of financial statements of sample enterprises is revealed
that most of the manufacturing companies disclose only qualitative information except of
monetary value.
In Bangladesh the Cost Audit is at its nascent stage. Despite the issuance of a number of
directives by government little progress could be made so far. The possible reasons are:
(a) There is lack of awareness about the benefits of Cost Audit among the administrative
ministries and policy regulators.
(b) Maintenance of record rules for the sectors/ units where cost audit has been introduced is
mandatory. Lack of awareness about the uses of record rules is the main reason for nocompliance.
(c) Some of the cost accounting record rules have become outdated in view of changes in
technology, business process and other external factors.
(d) To ensure standard application of cost accounting system and quality audit there is strong
need for developing/adopting Cost Accounting Standards. The Institute has so far issued 31
Bangladesh Cost Accounting Standards (BCAs)1. Along with issuance of BCAs, there is strong
need for their uses by the practicing cost accountants, regulators and academicians.
(e) Capacity building is one of the prime concerns for the profession. Due to limited practicing
experience the CMAs’ technical capability has to be developed further. In the month of August
2019, the Institute sent a pool of 20 CMAs to Delhi for practical training on cost audit conducted
by the Institute of Cost Accountants of India (ICAI). In the previous years also training on cost
audit were conducted in Dhaka and Chittagong by the experienced practitioners of India. They
are expected to contribute to develop further resource pool of potential Cost Auditors in
(f) As per section 22(1) of the Financial Reporting Act, 2015 the Financial Reporting Council’s
functions would mostly be done through the following four divisions: (i) Standards Setting
Division; (ii) Financial Reporting Monitoring Division; (iii) Audit Practice Review Division; and
(iv) Enforcement Division. These Divisions, among others, would oversee the Cost Audit
reporting, audit quality and other enforcement activities. CMAs would therefore be under the
strict scanner of FRC.
g) Under section 2(w) of the Money Laundering Prevention Act, 2012 (effective from
16.01.2012),“Reporting Organization” includes “corporate service provider” and “accountant”,
who are liable to report “suspicious transaction” and “suspicious activity” of their clients if they
come to their notice to the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) with the approval of
government. Section 2(z) of the Money Laundering Prevention Act, “suspicious transaction”
means such transaction – (i) which deviates from usual transactions; (ii) of which there is ground
to suspect that, the property is the proceeds of an offence, or it is financing to any terrorist
activity, a terrorist group or an individual terrorist; and (iii) which is, for the purposes of the
Money Laundering Prevention Act, any other transaction or attempt of transaction delineated in
the instructions issued by BFIU from time to time. Under Rule 2(1)(aa) of the Money
Laundering Prevention Rules, 2019 [S.R.O. No. 30-Ain/2019, dated 31.01.2019, published in the
Gazette on 13.02.2019], “Suspicious Activities” for the purpose of the Money Laundering
Prevention Act the activity defined by BFIU from time to time. For practicing professional
accountants, it’s a new challenge to face.
(h) In accordance with the provisions of the Financial Reporting Act 2015 (FRA), major
implications on ICMAB or its members or cost audit practice include: (i) ICMAB’s punishment
to any of its members to disqualify him to be the Chairman or Executive Director of the
Financial Reporting Council (FRC) [u/s 13(i)]; (ii) FRC’s Audit Practice Review Division’s
observance of ICMAB’s activities regarding cost audit practice [u/s 25(1) (a)]; (iii) FRC’s cost
audit practice code, guideline or regulation to have supremacy over ICMAB’s own cost audit
related rules or guidelines [u/s 27(2)]; (iv) cost audit practice to be unauthorized while ICMAB’s
action under disposal on FRC’s enforcement recommendation [u/s 34(1)]; and (v) enlisted cost
auditor to intimate the FRC, ICMAB or concerned regulator about public interest entity’s
inaction on severe irregularity within prescribed time [u/s 36] (GOB, 2015a; Bala, 2017).