The challenges of data availability, sustainability initiatives, volatility in the global market, waning corporate trust and financial reporting transparency concerns all point to a need for greater accountability in the both public and private organizations.

Accountants are in a unique position to fill this need. Through the onslaught of new practical and ethical challenges, accounting continues to prove its value when it comes to solving complex international business and regulatory challenges, as well as, technological insecurity. In fact, 8 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the top of the U.N. General Assembly’s 2017 agenda are directly supported by the work of accountants. They serve as strongholds for ethical business practices by exposing corporate waste or fraud, as well as expert analysts with ability to uncover progressive opportunities.

In this data-driven, globalized era, accountants are essential drivers of strong and sustainable organizations, making them indispensable in the global job market. You can position yourself as a vital leader in your organization (if you have the right skills).

Next-generation skills needed for accounting career success

Whether you’re an aspiring certified public accountant (CPA) or are opting to follow another advanced accounting career path in the next generation of accounting organizations, it’s time to consider how you can stay ahead of your field.

An advanced education like that offered in Saint Joseph’s College’s Master of Accountancy (MAcc) degree program can give you the skills you’ll need to lead teams, manage change, exercise ethical judgement and solve problems at a macro level.

What will help you stand apart and make a difference in your field? Here’s a brief look at the often-overlooked skills that will prepare you for an evolving career in accounting.

Conveying the meaning behind the numbers to any level of an organization

Accounting concepts challenge even the most seasoned business leaders – not everyone has an aptitude for organizing and deciphering financial data, and then translating those insights into meaningful action. Businesses rely on accounting experts like you to relay critical information in a way that resonates with the right audience.

In the field, you may need to address an audience of executives who need answers to big-picture questions. Or, you may find yourself collaborating with subject-matter experts in adjacent fields (and need to make the case for your department’s needs).

Whether presenting complex data to a client or training a junior accountant who’s just beginning their career, you’ll need to communicate with clarity and credibility about your subject matter. A master’s-level education in accounting can help you develop these skills,  so you can better advocate for the ethical standards demanded in the accounting profession.

Seeing the big picture behind the detail – and standing up for it

Every data point in invoicing, payables, payroll and so on rolls up into a complex process that influences major financial decisions and operational decisions. This is especially true in an increasingly globalized economy with a variety of economic stability concerns.

In this environment, your knowledge of generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) can serve as a linchpin for both domestic and international business practices. As an accounting leader, you’ll need to develop your aptitude for understanding complex systems and justifying processes within those systems to ensure clean financial reporting.

When one stakeholder within a company makes a seemingly small request to fudge the numbers, everyone on your team needs to be prepared to stand up for proper accounting practices and see the forest through the trees. It’s up to you to ensure those guidelines are respected and followed.

Establishing and maintaining trust within your organization and with the public

Ethics in accounting is increasingly important as private and public organizations are put under the microscope for misleading financial reports or manipulative business practices. Anyone working in an advanced accounting role must be able to identify and prevent issues that put an organization at risk for fraud, asset misappropriation or other activities that threaten the integrity of the organization.

With a Master of Accountancy degree, you’ll expand your knowledge in tax law and regulatory compliance, operational procedures and transparency in financial reporting while developing your sense of responsibility, honesty and fairness in accounting. This will help ensure that your organization can access clean, reliable data when it matters most.

Be an asset in your field

A career in accounting is about more than just budgets and financial reporting. It is about helping an organization grow and thrive through responsible business practices, and by raising your hand when you see unethical behavior intended to manipulate outcomes at the expense of organizational integrity and ultimate success.

At Saint Joseph’s College, we offer an ethically driven, fully online Master of Accountancy program that builds careers for aspiring CPAs, tax auditors, risk analysts and other advanced accounting professionals in a wide range of industries. Take what you learn here and go anywhere. Request more information today.