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Top 5 Qualities of Successful Accountants

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Productive at workMoney drives the world. It allows us to buy what we need to live, and what we want for additional comfort, security and experiences. It’s a benchmark of success and a goal that inspires hard work and innovation. But it also causes more issues than anything else. Poor financial decisions can sink a small business, bankrupt a family or tear a couple apart. And right in the heart of that potential maelstrom is an accountant. Accountants are hired at every scale, from the individual looking to invest $1,000 into a retirement account to the Fortune 500 company with billions of dollars in assets to manage. Regardless of the size of the account you are managing, a good accountant is the key. But who should you hire? Consider these top five qualities of a successful accountant and you’ll know when you’ve got one in your sights.

The best accountants are always incredibly trustworthy. Accountants deal with a great deal of confidential information. Their ability to be discreet and trustworthy can make all the difference. But beyond knowing that your accountant won’t blab about your business to the press or the IRS, even more important is knowing that you can trust their information. Any accountant can speak with confidence, but the successful ones back that confidence up with exhaustive research.

Yet beyond a simple understanding of the tax code and the market, the most successful accountants also have a high-level capacity for analysis. Any accountant can tell you what’s most obvious about how much money you have and how you can organize it, but the highly analytical accountant can extrapolate into the unknown. He should be able to tell you why one option is better than all others, even if they seem essentially the same on their face. That comes from understanding the trends that can be expected from the research he does, and from doing it long enough that patterns emerge he can track.

This level of analysis is only really possible if your accountant can claim advanced mathematical skills. Obviously anyone with training can handle basic accounting with a calculator and the right formulas on hand. But the most successful accountants can handle complex equations even without preparation. They aren’t necessarily math geniuses, and you shouldn’t fault an accountant that has to use a calculator. But they understand equations intuitively. The world makes sense to them in mathematical terms. And that gets tasks done quickly.

Although they will save time with that level of aptitude, any successful accountant is a master at time management. At the end of each quarter and during tax time an accountant could be stretched very thin, and might need to work extended hours. But in order not to fall behind he must know how to take care of all of his clients, no matter how large or small. Successful accountants are almost never late, and scoff at those who seem overwhelmed. That builds serious confidence.

Perhaps that successful accountant doesn’t tolerate tardiness, but he should be open to out of the box thinking and creativity. There is always more than one approach to handling your finances, and it isn’t always obvious. Successful accountants understand all the traditional methods inside and out, which allows them to break rules when need be to best serve their clients. Just take a look at a site like to find a quick example of the standard way of doing things. It’s all too easy to see how sticking within those parameters will lead to standard results. A successful accountant uses all methods at his disposal, no matter how unconventional. And that takes a creative mind.

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