Skills you need to become a senior accountant

Posted in Candidates

Posted by Jo Howell
Published on 20 July, 2018

What skills do you need to become a senior accountant?

Keen to level-up your career as an accountant? It requires more than being a numbers whiz. But if you have what it takes you can expect a generous salary, job security and the opportunity to shape the future of the organisation you work for. In this article, Jo Howell - senior consultant in our accountancy division - explains how to succeed when applying for senior accounting roles.

What qualifications do you need?

Let’s start with the obvious. Your number crunching muscles need to be extremely brawny. You will hold a recognised accountancy qualification - such as CIMAACCA or ACA - a relevant degree can be a plus but it’s by no means essential.

What soft skills do Senior Accountants need?

Senior accounting roles are more than a numbers game. You will become a core member of your chosen organisation and could find yourself making procurement decisions, forming business strategy, managing compliance and more. A diverse set of well-honed soft skills is essential. Let’s take a closer look.

Commercial Acumen

The best accountants have sound commercial acumen. As a key member of the team you should always be looking for opportunities to improve the business and its provision of services. Any big calls you make as an accountant need to be evidence-based, rooted in a deep understanding of what your business does and why.

Communication Skills

You also need excellent communication and interpersonal skills. You will have to communicate with a broad set of people inside and outside the organisation - confronting difficult issues and negotiating for change where necessary. You have to be prepared to say things that challenge the status quo. Diplomacy is key.

Attention to Detail

Meticulous attention to detail and problem solving will already be among your strengths. But you must also display good leadership potential. You will likely be heading up a small team - and senior accountants often progress to become financial directors and CEOs. There’s no reason to suggest your career trajectory should be any different.

What should you mention at interview?

Competition for senior accounting roles can be fierce. How do you steal a march on your opposite number? At the interview stage, be prepared to show how your skills can help the specific organisation you have applied to join. Think about what you would focus on in the role and - if applicable - any improvements you would seek to make. It’s not enough to reel off a list of former glories.

Specialist accountancy jobs in Exeter and the south west

The steady influx of major businesses into the Westcountry has created strong demand for highly skilled accountants. Group experience is keenly sought after. And because many businesses are trading across international boundaries, accountants with a working knowledge of IFRSare also high on employers’ wishlists.

Ready to get started?

Cathedral Appointments recruit for some of the best accountancy positions in the Westcountry. To discuss how we can help you find your next position, contact Jo Howell on 01392 413577 or



Recruitment Manager - Accountancy and Financial Services

Jo joined Cathedral Appointments in 2012 after over 20 years in recruitment spanning the whole of the UK - Aberdeen, Home Counties, Greater Manchester and the South West! She recruits for both Financial Services and Accountancy professionals and is known in the office for finding the needle in the haystack candidate where no one else can!

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Skills you need to become a senior accountant

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