Do you need to be good at maths to be an Accountant?

Post by Open Colleges on October 2nd, 2020

This is a common query for people thinking of entering the finance sector. It’s naturally assumed that if you’re looking to start a career in accounting then you need to be good at maths, right?

Not so. There are many other skills, capabilities and attributes that employers will be looking for, rather than whether or not you’re a brilliant maths whizz.

In this article, we’ll bust some common myths about working in accounts and give you tips on how to enter the industry or take the next step in your career.

7 Common myths about Accountants BUSTED!

1. You need to be good at maths to be an Accountant

You don’t need to be a maths genius to be an Accountant. Of course, just like most jobs, you’ll be expected to have a basic understanding of maths. And it certainly helps if you have an interest in numbers. But you don’t have to be able to solve complex maths problems in your head to be a good Accountant.

Instead, here are some other skills employers will be on the lookout for when you apply for an accounting job:

  • Analytical and critical thinking. Because you’ll be dealing with large amounts of data, you’ll need to be able to evaluate and break it down so you can interpret it accurately.
  • Communication skills. You’ll need to have strong communication skills to be able to explain complex issues to your colleagues and clients who don’t have a strong finance background.
  • A keen eye for detail. Part of your job as an Accountant will be to spot financial inaccuracies and errors. If these mistakes aren’t picked up, they can have serious implications for companies or individuals.
  • Problem-solving. Sometimes, you’ll come across an error that will seem almost impossible to unravel. So you’ll need to step up to the challenge of tackling tricky accounting problems to make sure the numbers add up the way they’re supposed to.
  • Digital literacy. Accountants work with a variety of different software programs. Some of the programs you work with might even be custom-designed, so you’ll need to be able to quickly pick up how these systems work and how they fit in with your day-to-day.

2. Accountancy is all about crunching numbers

There is so much more to being an Accountant than crunching numbers. While, yes, the nature of the financial services sector means your job will be numbers focused, it doesn’t mean that your job will only involve crunching numbers.

A big part of many accounting roles is preparing financial reports and communicating with colleagues and clients. This means you’ll have to have good interpersonal skills as well as strong writing skills so you can get your message across clearly. You might also spend time looking for new solutions to business improvements, as well as providing financial advice.

Find out more about what a day in the life of an Accountant could look like for you and read up on the daily tasks and responsibilities of an Accountant.

3. An Accountant’s job can be completely automated

There are around 800,000 people in Australia employed in the financial services sector. This is a reliable and stable industry with steady growth. And just because some parts of an Accountant’s job can be automated, that doesn’t mean that Accountants will become replaced by robots.

Why? Because being an Accountant is much more than just crunching numbers, and it requires things that programs just can’t emulate—such as intuition, judgement and people skills.

Think about the actions that can be automated—data entry, report processing, working out complex algorithms. These are all things that are made much easier by being automated. And because their time is not being taken up by simple, mundane jobs, Accountants have more time to focus on other projects and build upon their existing skillset.

4. All Accountants know how to do taxes

Not all accounting jobs involve tax. There are many, many different types of jobs in the financial services sector. So if you’ve decided to follow a career in accounting, there are plenty of different options out there for you, and Tax Accountant is just one of them.

Find out what kinds of different jobs are out there for Accountants.

5. Being an Accountant means you’ll be chained to a desk all day

Finance is a global language. And working in financial services means that you may be required to travel for your job, whether that is domestically or overseas. You may need to travel for any number of reasons: such as site visits, audits, inventory checks, and face-to-face meetings with clients.

6. Accountants are boring

This is a common (and rather insulting) stereotype that many people working in finance face. The idea is that Accountants spend all day sitting in front of a computer and don’t have any people skills—which, as we’ve discussed above, is completely untrue!

Did you know that Australia’s financial sector creates the most revenue in Australia above all other industries? The revenue for 2020 was calculated at $195.6 billion for the financial sector. And you’d be hard-pressed to find anything boring about $195.6 billion.

Research has also shown that 47% of ASX 200-listed CEOs come from an accounting and financial services background. So if you’ve got your sights set on the top job, then working in accounts could be the first step towards achieving that goal.

7. You need a degree to become an Accountant

You don’t need a university degree to become an Accountant. In fact, the minimum qualification you need to become an Accountant is a Diploma.

There are also other jobs which are fantastic starting points for anyone wishing to enter the financial services sector, such as Accounts Payable or Receivable Clerk, or Bookkeeper. These roles do not require formal education, but a VET qualification will help you stand out from the crowd and give you a head-start in your career.

Open Colleges has a range of online accounting and finance courses to suit whatever career path you’re interested in following. All of our courses are facilitated online through our intuitive learning platform, OpenSpace, which means you can study whenever you want, wherever you are. There are no classrooms to attend, no exams and no assessment deadlines, so you can fit your study around your life’s other commitments.

Find out more about our accounting and finance courses and enrol today.

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