The Characteristics of Top Staff Accountants

fund accountingManaging the fund accounting process for nonprofits requires an Accountant that shines with accuracy, detail, logic, and great communication skills. To find the diamond in the rough, deeper character traits and highly specific skills are needed. If you’d like to be numbered among the best accountants in your field, then make these skills a priority for your own personal development.

Skill Sets that Make Top Accountants Shine

Below are characteristics that make up the best of the best when it comes to your nonprofit financial management team:

  • Accuracy: All accountants must be accurate, but top accountants leave no stone unturned in their quest for all the details that matter. Good accountants must regularly review their own performance and look for mistakes in their own work before sending material on to others.
  • The big picture: Top accountants can step back and take in the big picture. They’re good at what they do, and can see how their work fits into the larger mission of the organization and, as such, they understand how to be helpful to others.
  • Deadlines: Many professions are deadline-driven, but accountants are always exceptionally deadline-oriented people. Top accountants set personal deadlines and try to achieve their goals early. They allow extra time in a project for those “just in case” moments when someone calls in sick or competing deadlines take people’s focus away from their project. Good accountants plan; great accountants plan for deadlines along with contingency plans.
  • Excellent communication skills: Accountants aren’t often thought of as communicators, but strong communication skills are a must for top accountants. Not only are you called upon to share facts and figures with others in your department, but you must be able to translate that information into language everyone within your organization can understand. There’s also the important matter of communicating with subordinates and managers. Keeping everyone informed, and understanding how and when to share information, is a hallmark of an exceptional accountant.
  • Integrity: We want everyone working with us to have integrity. Accountants must have exceptional integrity. Because they are charged with nonprofit financial management, they must be rigorously honest in everything they do. They must also be responsive to questions, complaints, and problems brought to their attention. Integrity, honesty, and ethics are part of the package that makes a great accountant.
  • Exceptional computer skills: Conquering spreadsheets, understanding the nuances of your fund accounting system, and handling all reporting needs with calm assurance are all part of the job for the best accountants. They become the guru that everyone turns to when they need help with the number-crunching aspects of their company’s software. Even if you’re not a technical whiz, becoming fluent with the software package that your company has chosen is one of the ways in which top accountants go the extra mile.

Polish Your Skills to Be The Best

What does it take to become and remain the best of the best? Ongoing professional development is a vital step for nonprofit financial managers and those leading accounting for nonprofits.

Such professional development need not be formal classes, although that can help. Professional development may take the form of attending seminars and online workshops, attending conferences, and networking with others in your profession.

Regardless of the form it takes, top accountants do not remain hunched over their spreadsheets all day. They are a vital and important part of the nonprofit team. Are you a leader among accountants? Set a personal goal for yourself to do all you can to be the best nonprofit accountant your organization has ever met.

RBP Methods

RBP Methods is a nonprofit software and consulting firm that helps right-brained people navigate a left-brained world. We offer a wide range of consulting services focused on helping nonprofits manage their accounting and financial needs. Our software choices include Abila, AccuFund and other nonprofit financial management tools. For more information, visit RBP Methods or call us at 503-648-9051.