Chartered Accountant (CA) qualification is often termed as one of the most sought-after professions in the accounting & finance domain. The primary reason behind this is that the CA qualification offered by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, comes up with lucrative salary packages as well as excellent self-employment opportunities. This is one of the reasons why every year we see a surge in the number of students who want to pursue a career as a Chartered Accountant (CA). Apart from CA, some of the other professional accounting qualifications getting prominence are Company Secretary (CS) offered by the Institute of Company Secretaries of India, CMA offered by the Institute of Cost Accountants of India, ACCA offered by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, CGMA offered by the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants. These professional exams, especially the CA program is said to be one of the toughest professional programmes in the country. This is why we see the majority of students putting in years of effort before they crack the exam.
To become a successful professional accountant, one needs to have the right blend of knowledge and skills. We at the Institute of Commerce, Nirma University proudly offer with rigor and relevance, the requisite knowledge (for details refer to our curriculum structure available on our website) and skills to prepare our students to sail through these programmes and in their professional careers smoothly. This blog presents an overview of the essential skills that every professional accounting student must possess.
Mathematical Skills: Dealing with numbers is a daily part of an Accountant’s work profile. That is why it is necessary to have accuracy and speed in mathematical calculations. Moreover, having a strong basic foundation in mathematics plays a huge role grasping other concepts of accounting and finance, which helps in having a successful career as a CA, ACCA or CMA
Conceptual Understanding: The number of students who attempt to clear the professional accounting exams is high, but the passing rate is very low. The reason behind this is, students who have just mugged up the content find it challenging to attempt the questions asked in these professional examinations. Therefore, students need to have a solid conceptual understanding of the basic concepts so as to answer the questions appropriately, some of which may be previously unseen questions.
Discipline, Diligence and hard work: Discipline is essential to pursue a professional accounting career. The reasons behind this are, the syllabus is vast, and the passing rate is low, so students need to put extra effort with patience and in a disciplined manner to manage this tight rope walk. Additionally, articleships are quite infamous for being 12-14 hour jobs with peanuts for pay. This means you have to have the patience and perseverance to survive the coursework, exams as well as articleship work and maintain a balance among these competing tasks. A balanced approach is required since student needs to score minimum mandatory marks in all subjects. At Institute of Commerce, Nirma University students learn to have balanced approach managing their studies with planning, organising and participating in various curricular and extra-curricular activities. Such an atmosphere inculcates a spirit of leadership and an understanding of different aspects of commerce.
Time Management Skills: Students have to manage their studies with articleship and other exams if they are still at undergraduate level. Since the syllabus is vast, they have to study regularly after finishing long working hours of articleship or attending college. Therefore, having time management skills proves to be extremely important for professional accounting students.
Communication Skills: Professional accountants work on projects of varied complexities and with multiple clients that are from different domains. Moreover, they need to interact with board members, shareholders, CEO, management executives, investors, among others. These conversations are not just verbal but are also in written format. This is why students must acquire excellent communication skills, oral as well as written while pursuing these courses.
Analytical Skills, Creative Thinking & Curiosity to learn: Professional Accountants deal with complex business scenarios handling accounting, finance, tax and other matters of clients. This requires them to acquire thorough understanding of complex business models applying analytical skills. The exam questions are of such nature that students are expected to demonstrate their analytical skills in answering those questions. These skills are inevitable for both passing the exam and becoming a successful professional. To handle the complex business issues and provide effective solutions, they have to think critically, be creative and learn on a daily basis from the ever-changing business environment.
Networking and Teamwork: We live and work in the global era. Time are gone, when one could attend to all the tasks and still achieve excellence. More often than not, today’s management problems require us to network and work in teams. Therefore, students must acquire networking and team work skills while pursuing these courses and be dynamic in working both as team members and team leaders as the situation may warrant.
Conflict Resolution: The ever-expanding complexity of business models, increased requirement of compliance and growing size of businesses in length and breadth, gives rise to several issues leading to a conflict. Today’s accountants are not only expected to keep track of business happenings but also plan an important role in bringing all stakeholders on the same page, facilitate a dialogue and come up with implementable solutions.
Tech Savvy: With the passage of time, the person who keeps himself in touch with the latest technology gets more demand and this does not apply to the Accountancy profession only. Every profession demands you adopt the modern technologies as it helps in giving an accurate and fast work. Most of the accounting and auditing is done in an online environment. Today no one has a time, to wait for you to prepare his return with the pen and paper, there are many taxation software which let you prepare return within minutes. The curriculum of Institute of Commerce, Nirma University includes IT courses such Computer Applications, Tally ERP, SPSS with an aim to develop the requisite knowledge, skills and attributes in students to meet the challenging needs of the world of work.
To be a successful professional accountant, one need to have right blend of knowledge and skills. The above are some of the essential skills (Numeracy, IT and Soft Skills) that every accounting student is expected to have. To help our students develop and enhance all these skills, we at Nirma University offer the Bachelors in Commerce (Honours) undergraduate program focusing on the overall development of our students through a rigorous curriculum supplemented by a variety of additional learning opportunities provided by co-curricular and extracurricular activities that are organised and managed by students under the guidance of faculty members. Our aim is to produce not only competent professionals but also worthy citizens of a great country, aiding in its overall progress and development.
Any questions or comments may be directed to the author at: firstname.lastname@example.orgAuthor Dr. Udai Paliwal, Director and Dean, ICNU