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Leadership skills every accountant should have

Written on Feb 22, 2023
Leadership Skills Every Accountant Should Have

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Accountants have considerable responsibilities and being a jack-of-all-trades with skills and determination is exactly what employers look for and what you need to accomplish your goals and keep things running smoothly.  

In addition to handling routine tasks, you'll likely one day add managing multiple people and projects to your repertoire. To do so effectively, you’ll need certain skills that may or may not come as naturally as your financial prowess.  

When the time comes to rise to the challenge, you’ll excel in a leadership role if you’ve honed the following abilities.  


No matter your industry or job title, you will need to develop strong communication skills to get your point across. How you exchange information is even more crucial when managing a team of accountants.  

As a leader, you must keep your team members informed of details, changes in goals, project updates and so forth. Maintain consistent, open and honest written and oral communication with your team and clients so that everyone gets appropriate information, how and when they need it. Periodically check with your team to ensure they have a clear understanding of goals and objectives.  

Leaders must motivate their employees. Compelling and inspirational leaders keep a cool head under pressure and make sure that interactions remain respectful and inclusive. It’s vital to create an open-door environment so that you are approachable, and your team knows their input and ideas are encouraged, recognized and appreciated.  


Your brain may be a human computer, but you don’t want your interactions to be impersonal or detached. Effective leadership requires compassion and understanding. Rule without empathy, and you’re likely to discourage your team and increase employee turnover as frustrated employees look for friendlier work environments. As a leader, you want to retain as many employees as possible because they have experience and knowledge of team and client dynamics that a new employee wouldn’t have.  

In addition, your empathy and understanding make you a role model capable of motivating employees intrinsically. Motivated employees create a happier work environment, and that feeling can grow exponentially. Before you know it, work is more enjoyable for everyone.  


To deliver consistent, superior results and quality service, you need to regularly collect and evaluate data on current business processes. Recognize that your organization’s best practices aren’t written in stone. Document your current processes, observe what works and what could use improvement, and formulate strategies for changing what doesn’t work well.  

Leaders must be open and receptive to ideas from subordinates. Working together to uncover problems and develop actionable solutions could be the breakthrough a team needs for success.  

Time management

Time is always of the essence for the busy accountant. There are usually deadlines to meet, and for some, certain times of the year can be more hectic than others. Effective leaders won’t let these deadlines sneak past them and risk setting a lousy example for their subordinates and representing their organization poorly. Neither will they consistently work themselves and their team members around the clock and risk burnout and employee turnover.  

You and your team can manage time better by making lists of tasks and prioritizing them. To catalog and share to-do lists, you could:  

  • Write and allot tasks daily.  

  • Regularly communicate priorities to your team through written and oral communications, as with a daily morning meeting and a whiteboard.  

  • Use automated technology to help you and your team share tasks and keep up with significant milestones, decisions and the project's status.  

  • Downtime is as important as work time. You and your team need brain breaks to lift morale, improve creativity and prevent mistakes.  

Leadership skills are vital

Accountants looking to broaden their experiences, climb the corporate ladder or positively influence their workplace must learn essential leadership skills. It takes time, patience and practice to hone these softer skills.


For additional learning on how to hone your leadership skills, visit


Accountants have a lot of duties, so being a jack of all crafts with talent and tenacity is exactly what employers want and what you need to achieve your objectives and keep things going smoothly. You'll probably eventually add managing several individuals and projects to your skill set in addition to managing ordinary activities. If you've cultivated the following skills, you'll flourish in a leadership capacity when the time comes to take on the challenge.

5 Leadership Skills for Every Accountant Infographic



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