10 things the most successful accountants do

Accounting is neither a piece of cake nor the most glamorous job out there. But it is the core factor for a business. This particular job can either make a business or break it. That’s the extent of power it holds.

Accountants have been in existence since the start of time. Back then, they were working on paper and files; now, the new age accountants are using computers and software. No matter what device or channel they use, they work with numbers.

Managing numbers may not be fun for some, but for accountants, it is fun. They run through the numbers, prepares balance sheets, close business accounts monthly and many other things. It takes a lot to become a successful accountant. A degree and professional qualification are essential to becoming an accountant, but some traits are even more critical.

Understanding these traits and implementing them is what separates a successful accountant from a normal one.

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10 Things successful accountants do

From personality traits to professional traits, there are so many things that collectively make an accountant successful. This article is going to cover all of these traits.

1. Attention to details

When working on the numbers of a business, even a comma can cause a big issue for the company. Accountants need to have keen attention to detail. They cannot afford even to misplace a comma. One needs to pay close attention to every detail and ensure no mistakes.

Some accountants double, triple check their work to ensure that everything is accurate. This accuracy and attention to detail are essential things that every new accountant must-have.

2. Properly organised

Staying organised is the essential trait of being a successful accountant.

You must stay on top of all the documents; records, be it online or on paper.  A successful accountant always works in an organised manner. Right from the moment they get to the desk, they keep track of all the work they have to do on that day.

Having a structure to work around the day will make a lot of work easy for accountants. They can work around without any distractions either. So, having the proper schedule and being organised is essential to becoming a successful accountant.

3. Keeping up with the trends

We live in a fast-paced world where trends are changing in a jiff. Knowing accounting is not going to cut it; accountants need to stay abreast with the tax laws and any new trends prevalent in the industry.

One can learn these by attending seminars, workshops and networking. Technological advancements are fast-paced, and there is no shortcut.

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4. Innovation

You may think about what innovation has to do with accounting.

Accountancy has always been an indispensable tool for any business. Having control over the numbers and monitoring them all the time makes a business successful. However, the accounting practices kept changing with time. They are evolving, and you can find new techniques to stay on top of the numbers.

Be it recruiters or clients; they always look for innovative ideas that can give them an edge compared to the competitors. Fresh thoughts that can help take accounting off the ground are always welcome.

Compliance may be a low margin service line, so start evolving and adding more profitable business lines- advisor, for example.

5. Adaptivity

The accounting industry is growing quite rapidly, and there is fierce competition in the sector.

Being adaptive can help in growing your career multi-fold. A good accountant will always be ready to learn and understand new things with an open heart.

6. Trustworthy

The information that accountants handle is very private. Be it, clients or employers, they have to trust you with confidential information. This is the reason why it is essential to have professionalism. You should be ethical and trustworthy so that clients can rely on you with their data.

Gaining the trust of people is not an easy thing. However, once you earn it, there is no turning back. Make sure that your clients feel that their books are in safe hands.

7. Communication and team player

No matter which business it is, proper communication is essential. An accountant has to be open with the client or their books no matter what.

Most of the works accountants deal with is complex and confidential. Conveying any complex information simply and straightforwardly is mandatory for accountants.

Always speak a language, which a school going child can understand.

You should be a team player and work along with your company. Right from the HR department to bookkeepers, you have to communicate and collaborate with them. Although you may be a freelancer, you should stay in touch with the clients and their staff all the time to provide better services. Communication and collaboration are like two pillars for an accountant.

Whether you are a freelancer or a full-time accountant, ensure that the communication lines are intact.

8. Commercial awareness and client-centric

Being so good at numbers isn’t going to cut it. An accountant should have a clear idea about the business they are working on. If you are into retail space, you should know everything right from inventory to cash flow.

Getting suggestions from an accountant point of view is always a great addition to the business. Successful accountants will never back down from offering their valuable tips to clients.

This is the most common thing, but many would ignore it as if it is nothing. An accountant should have an idea of all things happening out in the world. They have to analyse how the business will fit in the environment, how much impact it will have in the prevailing situations, etc.

Commercial awareness is a craft that every accountant should know about, no matter what.

9. Accountable and resilient

Accountants must be accountable for their work. A successful accountant will always take accountability when things go wrong. No matter how accurate and resilient an accountant is, that person is still a human, and errors occur.

Taking responsibility for these errors is what makes one a good accountant. You have to be ready to face the consequences rather than pointing your finger at other people. Sorting out the issues and being responsive will make a world of difference for you and your clients.

You know, in accounting, you will start from the bottom level. It is common in almost all professionals. Right from your interning time, you have to be ready to work on tight deadlines, handle more challenging clients, understand different things and work around them, etc. If you want to become one of the successful accountants out there, you should be ready to put the required hard and smart work into it right from your initial days.

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10. Flexibility and stability

These are two different ends of a ship that an accountant must balance.

First, an accountant needs to be flexible. There can be changes in the technology, or your line manager/client may want to scale up the business. Different aspects need you to work in a different way. An accountant must be flexible to do this. I mean, if you find a new piece of technology that will take accounting to the next level, then learn it.

If the business is going international, know about the international finance laws and what you need to know, learn beforehand.

On the other hand, you need to be stable too. If you are working for a company, do not change jobs often. You may want to dip your toes and see how different industry accountants work; this will leave you as “Jack of all trades and master of none.” It is not good for your career. A successful accountant will stay stable and work their way up rather than keep shifting to new jobs now and then.

Most people don’t know the difference between accounting and bookkeeping. Here is our guide on the difference between a Bookkeeper and an Accountant to help you.


You will not find a successful accounting career on a silver platter. It is something that one has to build with time. Accountants out there are a dime a dozen, and it is vital for you to stand out of them and shine through.

It is not going to be an easy process, but once you adopt these ten traits, you are halfway there; the rest half depends upon your subject knowledge.