7 Qualities That Differentiate A Great Accountant from A Good Accountant

Accountants are responsible for many activities in an organization, so it can be safe to say that they are important people. Even a small mistake committed by them such as forgetting or adding an extra digit, misplacing a decimal, or any such error that may appear insignificant can have a significant impact on business decisions.


There is a basis for business decisions and measuring the financial health of an organization, which is provided by accounting books. Therefore, it’s important for accountants to possess few qualities which would make them effective and exceptional in their roles.

We’ve compiled below a list of seven traits that an ideal accountant should have.

1. Detail Oriented

This trait is important as they need to ensure that the numbers, they are working with are accurate. Due diligence for precision must be their second nature and not something which they need to be reminded of.

According to statistics by Bureau of Labor, most accountants work full-time and many more work for more than 40 hours a week during the busy time. An accidental error such as wrong manual input or missing a digit is easy, but what differentiates the great from the good is an eye for detail. A small mistake can cost them a huge, saving them makes you stand apart.

2. Proactive

A proactive mindset seeking continuous growth defines great accountants. They should be eager to find inefficiencies and improve upon them, ASAP.

They should be keen on identifying the issues or challenges that they or their firm is facing and find a solution for them. Along with adding value to the organization, it helps them keep on the cutting edge of the industry.

Accountants have a goal-oriented nature and are always asking, “Where will the company be in the next five years and what we need to do to get there?”.

3. Integrity

For an organization, the accounting department is a real concern. Not only the accuracy is expected from it, but people managing the company’s financial records and data can manipulate the numbers for their own benefit.

It usually occurs in areas where the employee can modify financial records. However, you never know when old ghosts come in the form of auditing to haunt them. Therefore, integrity is important among accountants so that they can maintain standards and stick to the accounting principles.

The profession fits only for those whose instinct is to do things the right way.

4. Leadership

A good leader knows how to mentor, teach and make themselves approachable to his team. Along with being a part of the team, there needs to be a balance between being a role model and the person in charge.

It takes patience, confidence and the capability to delegate. For accountants, leadership skills would also include long-term planning and thinking strategically. As many accounting firms provide consulting services, the ability to look ahead is the key.

5. Organized and Structured

Since accountants have to deal with numbers and large amounts of data, often for many clients, being organized would make much difference in their daily activity. The workload is manageable if they are organized.

Keeping the clean workspace and email folder is essential, but prioritizing things is also the key. If there is a huge amount of work, they should be comfortable in choosing things which should be done soon and things which can be left for another day.

6. Communication Skills

Often, this is an overlooked trait among accountants. It is vital for a good accountant to be able to communicate and interpret the complicated accounting concepts effectively to those who are not aware of financial language but need it for decision making.

The accountant also talks with clients regarding the methods used to prepare reports required for decision-making. Additionally, they also need to work closely with auditors, who review accounting books for accuracy and who take investment or buying decisions.

7. Time Management

Accountants need to manage many tasks with decision making procedure – while completing everything on time. Various vital decisions taken by the company are made on financial information provided by the accountants.

If this information is not provided on time, it may be considered irrelevant. A good accountant creates a structured system which allows things to be done and submitted on time. It is their ability to work within deadlines and prioritizing the tasks that take them far.


It goes without saying that being a great accountant requires a lot of effort and key personality characteristics which make up for a successful individual.

Accountants should have the ability to cultivate exceptional skills – they should be able to show their clients that they are working to improve their present as well as future.

About Julie Watson

Julie is a dynamic professional with over 16 years of rich experience as a VDI and Application Hosting expert. At Ace Cloud Hosting, she humanizes disruptive and emerging remote working trends to help leaders discover new and better possibilities for digital transformation and innovation by using cloud solutions with an enterprise-class security approach. Beyond work, Julie is a passionate surfer.
On the weekend, you will find her hanging out with her family or surfing around the North Shore of Oahu.

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Comments (1)

  • Jason says:

    Liked how author discussed aspects like “Communication skills” and “Proactive” which people usually don’t put much thought into. Clearly explains how much research and thought has been put to make this article so relatable.
    Keep up the good work.

  • Kinchun says:

    Good article! “Cares about his clients” is another point that I feel should be added as a caring accountant not only creates a bonding with the client but also builds trust and value. This is a rare quality in today’s world which surely makes an accountant great.

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