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Five attributes of successful accounting recruits

29 April 2016

The notion of a career in finance as a pure ‘number cruncher’ has been usurped by a new breed of a financial professional, who along with being armed with strong qualifications is well versed in people management, emerging technologies and data analytics. Emerging finance professionals need to brace for change as traditional accounting and finance roles are being reshaped to keep up with the shifting demands of business.

In a signpost of things to come, KPMG recently introduced an online gaming platform with psychometric testing for its graduate recruitment drives. The process also requires candidates to create a ‘selfie’ video in order to screen candidates for personal impact.

Previously, KPMG tested applicants with an emphasis on logical reasoning, numerical and verbal skills. Now it puts a high value on the manner in which candidates' prioritise tasks, how they make decisions and how they adapt to change.

“Our people are client facing, they are not just tucked away in an office beavering over a spreadsheet. We seek people who can listen to and talk with clients, who can demonstrate natural leadership attributes, with a strong ability to influence and collaborate in a team environment,” said KPMG National Head of Recruitment, Nikki Harrison.

Here are the top five tips for securing that coveted accounting role:

  1. Walking the talk

Strong communication skills are at the core of recruiter’s criteria for high quality finance and accounting talent. Distilling complex financial data into financial jargon in simple terms for stakeholders/clients, is an art form and candidates that are well versed here are highly valued.

2. Know your product

Competition means that an up-to-date understanding of legal structures and reporting standards across a range of markets and niches is highly regarded. Sought after candidates should have a robust knowledge of market changes and regulatory compliance. Business is increasingly reliant on data and analytics not just for internal processes but for seeking new revenue generation and controlling costs. Understanding the emerging big data trends and tools are also becoming essential.

3. An eye for detail

The basic requirement of attention to detail remains fundamental to the core of financial work. This includes the ability for lateral thinking, financial planning skills and strong analytical capabilities. This not only applies internally but also when client facing as companies are seeking not only strong accountants but also reliable business advisors.

4. Keeping up with qualifications

Education and experience remain the key draw card for accounting recruitment, and while some clients do look for training via the Big Four many employers are seeking talent that can show a breadth of experience. Often coming from a non-finance background but shifting to accounting and finance is seen as significant advantage, in terms of business development experience and scope.

Degrees such as a Graudate Diploma of Accounting is a clear path into the accounting and finance arena, allowing graduates from another discipline to gain the foundations for a move into accounting. The course is the only online Graduate Diploma accredited by CPA Australia, and traverses the knowledge required to work in fields including financial management, public practice, commerce and industry, government and semi-government organisations or accounting education.

5. Passion for business

While a passion for numbers is the foundation of an accounting career, personal enthusiasm also counts. Recruiters are seeking dynamic employees that can bring their passion and skills not only to the spreadsheet but to the work community and clients.  Being a well-rounded and engaged finance professional with great interpersonal skills will often be the secret to winning that coveted position.

Considering making the switch to a career in accounting or furthering your skill set? Take a look at our online Graduate Diploma of Accounting, or contact an SCU Online enrolment advisor to find out more. We’re available 8.00am — 6.00pm, Monday to Thursday, and 8.00am—5.00pm on Friday. Call 1300 589 882.