Whether you are an entrepreneur setting up your own business, or you are working for a multinational conglomerate, there is one common factor running through commercial organizations across the board; they all exist to make money. In the final analysis, every employee is there to contribute to that end.

The finance sector covers a multitude of disciplines, including purely accounts based roles such as book keeping and payroll and management accounts, to broader aspects of business management. These include things like strategic planning, mergers and acquisitions, taxation and regulatory compliance.

Accounting skills

The importance of accounting skills in Corporate America

Across all of these, a clear understanding of accounting principles is an essential prerequisite if you want to advance your career to a senior role. Similarly, if you are an entrepreneur, or have plans to start your own business, you will at least need a firm grip on the basic principles of accounting.

While there have been examples of individuals hired into high-ranking roles within an organization who turn pale at the very mention of a profit and loss account or a balance sheet, these are very much in the minority, and even more so in the 21st century competitive environment. After all, how can these people hope to contribute effectively towards increasing the company’s revenues and profits if they have an imperfect understanding of such fundamental concepts?

Perhaps you are considering setting up in a related industry, for example in banking, insurance or as an independent financial adviser. Once again, you will be in a position of weakness without a solid understanding of some accounting basics. The high profile business scandals over recent years mean that employers and clients alike will seek assurances that you have the right knowledge and qualifications to manage money professionally.

Learning accountancy is no different to acquiring any other skill. It takes time and effort, and you can only develop your skills through their practical application. But the truth is that anyone can learn the basics and develop an ability to understand and manage finances, whatever the size or type of business. The point is that big or small, new start-up or long-established company, the same financial rules and principles apply to all.

Getting qualified

While there are some sectors where natural talent and a solid track record of experience can get you to the top, the finance sector is heavily regulated and controlled. It is governed by rigorous professional standards, documented processes and commercial best practice.

That means your education is just as important as your personal expertise when it comes to a finance job, and to have a realistic hope of a successful career in the sector, you need some formal qualifications behind you.

If this has got you thinking that you now need to find the time and money to return to college for another two years, do not despair. One of the biggest benefits of the digital age is that people have greater levels of flexibility than ever before when it comes to studying.

Online study options

Even if you have a busy career or family commitments that take up large chunks of your day, today’s study methods mean you can still get qualified from the comfort of your own home. Online courses have revolutionized the whole education sector, and have done more to reduce barriers to education than any other innovation.

For example, UAB offers a bachelor’s in accounting online degree that you can study at your own pace and from any location. This is the perfect kind of qualification to give any business professional a fluent understanding of accounting principles. It is also recognized as meeting the defined educational standards for accounting professionals who are preparing for their Certified Management Accountant exam.

Hone your accountancy skills

Effective financial management is at the heart of every business, and the basic principles of accounting are at the heart of financial management. This means that there will always be a demand for people with good accounting and financial skills across all sectors.

With the right qualifications, a whole world of career options opens up before you, and the sky is the limit, whatever your specialty. And if your ultimate goal is to control your own destiny, then you will have the perfect groundwork in place to launch your own business.

Whichever way you look at it, solid accountancy skills that are backed up by the right qualifications are one of the most important prerequisites for success in the finance sector and beyond.