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5-Step Guide to Becoming an Accountant

Steve Berman, LedgerLink

January 27, 2010

Step 1: Accounting: It’s a Numbers Game


While accountants need a variety of skills, an talent for mathematics and attention to detail are of great importance in every accounting discipline. Wondering if you’re accounting material? Ask yourself a few questions:

• In school, were you one of those students who figured out the answer to an algebra equation before your teacher finished working through the problem on the blackboard?

• Does balancing your checkbook sound more like fun than a chore?

• Do your friends count on you to figure out the tip when you go out to dinner?

One doesn’t need to be able to figure out the square root of 14,161 in their heads like Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man to become a good accountant (it’s 119, by the way). After all, accountants are all provided with calculators and computers nowadays. Still, the ability to pore over massive amounts of numerical data without your eyes glazing over won’t hurt.

It’s not just a love for numbers that makes a great accountant; also important are critical thinking and technical skills, as well as the ability to analyze and synthesize data. An interest in the law and a desire to do the right thing will also take you a long way in accounting, as all Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) must pass an ethics exam before gaining certification.