While some people think that a tax accountant only works during tax season, the truth is that tax professionals work all year long. When not preparing tax returns for clients, many projects need to be worked on, and you'll also be able to work on your accounting skills. Here are three qualities that all great tax accountants must possess that require year-round practice and vigilance.
The first important quality a tax accountant should have is the ability to communicate well. Clients hire a tax accountant because they either like the convenience of not doing their taxes themselves or they simply don't understand tax laws and need someone like you to decipher them. Either way, they expect you to be able to break down complex laws and explain them in a way they will understand, which requires excellent communication skills. This skill doesn't just apply to clients, however. You will be expected to communicate with coworkers and possibly even vendors during the course of a regular workday, so your ability to master this skill is extremely important.
You should also have the ability to pay close attention to detail in every aspect of your work. In fact, one of the most important accounting skills you can possibly develop is an eye for detail, because a single misplaced period could mean the difference between an accurate document and a monumental math mistake. In addition, you will have to pay attention to details regarding new tax laws that could affect your clients. Every year the tax code changes, sometimes in very small and subtle ways. As a tax accountant, your ability to notice even the minutest of details could be the difference between being at the top of your game and being in the unemployment line.
Time management is a skill that is essential in just about any job, but it is especially important for a tax accountant. You will have multiple clients to juggle, which means you should have the ability to see what each one needs, and schedule time to spend on their accounts accordingly. Time management is one of those important tax professional habits that you must develop if you are to succeed in this business. If you can't manage your own time, you likely can't manage other people's time either, so not developing this skill could also be detrimental to your career plans if you wish to advance within your company.
No matter what time of year it is, there is always something to do if you are a tax accountant. You have clients all year, not just during tax season, so keeping up with much-needed skills is necessary. You should also set aside time to develop new skills to keep yourself sharp and increase your chances of advancement later on.
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