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Discussion in 'Introductions' started by AVD, 19th Aug, 2007.

  1. AVD

    AVD New Member

    19th Aug, 2007
    Hi all...

    I have just discovered this forum from reading the SS forums and thought I might poke my head in to look around.

    I am actually keen to hear some people's advice regarding a particular situation I have just found myself in.

    After 8 years of holding the reins of Administration I have now got my foot in the door of my first 'recognised' accounting position. By that I mean that for the past 12 months I have been doing the odd tax job here and there and have been doing large numbers of BAS/Variations/Individual Tax Returns in the past few months but haven't 'come out', so to speak as an accounting personnel until now.

    I have been working for an accounting firm for 5 years now at a place I love and respect greatly and have been taught by a fantastic person and have now got a new teacher who has just moved me into the accounting role I am talking about.

    I am half way through my qualifications and am getting really good KPIs and have lots of experience dealing with clients thus far.

    My question is: what does it take to be an excellent accountant and what attributes do you look for? I want to be AWESOME at what I do as I see this as a long term career for me. Its taking off slowly for now because I am studying and have a 2 year old with one on the way so it will take longer than Id like to be fully qualified, but I just want to do a really good job along the way.

    As you can tell the client contact isnt as issue as I can talk under water and am comfortable in all aspects of client relations, but I want to do the right thing by them and become a respected accountant that is a pleasure to deal with.

    Any tips? Do's or don'ts? Sorry for the novel, any feedback (good or bad) is extremely welcomed.

    For what its worth - I have been dabbling a little in shares myself (with much more to come once the baby is born) and have been learning all I can about IPs for when I am in a position to purchase my first of what I hope to be many.

    Thanks guys, if you have got this far through my post - kudos to you!

  2. Jacque

    Jacque Team InvestEd

    16th Jun, 2005
    Hi AVD and welcome to InvestEd!
    Sounds like you'll go far with your positive attitude already. I can't speak from an accountant's point of view, but I do believe that they need to be excellent communicators as well as masters of accounting matters. After all, the theory is fine, but useless unless you can translate it easily into wordable language that your clients can understand and learn from.

    Every accountant I've had to date has been not only generous with their knowledge, but able to communicate in such a way that I have always been able to understand (and, if not, further clarify until I do) them.

    Good luck with the course and the new baby- exciting times!!
  3. MattR

    MattR Well-Known Member

    23rd May, 2007
    Hi Alysha and welcome.

    Well I'm an accountant so I'll give it a least this is my perspective. In no particular order.

    1. Communication - you need to be able to commuincate your ideas across to a very broad range of people who have different life experiences, education and yes, intelligence. And you need to be able to do that respectfully.

    2. You need to be able to quickly assess the pros and cons of a situation. Its useless spending hours on a clients work on their behalf if the outcome is only going to generate a very small benefit (if at all) for the client.

    3. You must be prepared to go to bat for your clients. Your clients entrust you with their information, often for years and years, and you need to recognise that loyalty so that when things go bad you will stand by them. Often times that means going to toe to toe with the tax office or some other govenrment/industry body on behalf of your client.

    4. You have to be up to date - you must know your technical stuff. Keep reading and reading and reading and .....This is where our Value Add comes from. Also extend that knowledge ~ its amazing how often a little seed of an idea finds a home not long after being found. (Sorry for the mixed metaphor).

    5. Know your limitations and develop resources for dealing with them. I use two other accountants to bounce ideas off, and I also use two tax specialists for the heavy duty stuff.

    6. When you see something wrong with the system (tax, company law etc.) ring the mongrels up and give them an earful. Or however you choose to do it ~ point is you need to help direct the profession.

    7. Network!

    8. Be Pro - Active. You have to be actively looking to help your clients at all times. Again this is our Value Add.

    9. Keep in contact with your clients. Encourage them to dialogue with you every time they are going to do something of (tax) importance.

    That's about it for now. Good luck with your career.

  4. Dr Lobster

    Dr Lobster Well-Known Member

    12th Jun, 2006
    sydney nsw
    I am an ex accountant. I still pay my cpa fees but I no longer hold the position of accountant.

    As you may probably be aware there are many different types of accountant. None of my roles have ever been in an accounting firm and have ranged from tax accountant doing company taxes, financial accountant, management accountant and financial analyst. So keep this in mind when I make the following comments.

    For me to be succesful in my roles I had to be as commercially minded as I could be whilst still remaining within the bounds of accounting and financial principles. For example alot of the managers I have dealt with are great at what they do but as far as numbers go, they suck. Such was the case with the team of architects I used to be the divisional accountant for. The budgets I used to work on with these guys were in the range of up to $12m just for the design part of the job. To get the most accurate budget / forecast I had make sure that the questions I asked were asked in a way that the architects could understand what I was trying to get at.

    I used to listen heaps, ask thoughtful questions in an attempt to give me a greater understanding of their business so that I could better interpet the figures or provide more suitable advice.

    I now use those skills when I negotiate with tenants, I find being able to easily weild numbers on the run gives me an advantage in negotiation situations.
  5. paddy55

    paddy55 Member

    18th Jun, 2007

    Hi Alysha,
    I am a practising chartered accountant.
    I suggest have a thorough knowledge of a) the TaxPack, b) Handitax (or some other) and c) MYOB (or some other).