People who haven’t worked closely with an accountant before sometimes tend to think that they’re kind of like really good computers when it comes to their work: they plug in the numbers, follow the rules, and spit out a report — no real personality required.
But actually, there’s a lot of personality traits that tend to make for great accountants, including some you might not expect, like:
Probably not the first thing you’d think of when it comes to accounting, but the best accountants are often very creative. They look for unusual solutions to their clients’ problems, and they enjoy the challenges of implementing out of the box ideas in the context of structured accounting laws.
Organisation and detail-orientation
Of course, organisation is something that can be learned, but those who are naturally more organised tend to have a leg up when it comes to accounting. The same goes for being detail-oriented: the more you’re able to focus on the little things, the easier it is to find discrepancies and other problems.
The nature of the job means that accountants really need to be trustworthy. Setting aside the potential for unscrupulous accountants to do a lot of damage to people’s businesses and livelihoods, accountants sometimes have a better sense of a business’s finances than the owner does. That puts them in a position where they can have a lot of influence over the success for failure of the business, which is a lot of responsibility!
Having a sense of a larger purpose
Despite its reputation for being a cut and dried industry, accounting really can be in service of something greater. For instance, at Clear Books we’re all about making accounting as easy as possible for small businesses. And while that’s a great end in itself, it’s even more significant when you look at it in the bigger picture of how what we do helps people to run businesses that give them financial freedom plus the chance to share their skills and talents with the world.
And if you want to get even more specific…
A 2006 study cited in The Accounting Educators’ Journal found that nearly half of accounting students fit into one of two Myers-Briggs personality types: ESTJ (extroverted, sensing, thinking and judging) and ISTJ (introverted, sensing, thinking and judging). While you can of course be an accountant if you have a different Myers-Briggs personality type, it does make you think…
What personality traits do you think make for the best accountants? Tell us in the comments below!