More and more accounting professionals are working closely with their information technology counterparts in a wide range of areas, from systems implementations and conversions to compliance initiatives and risk assessments. For accountants at all levels, strong technical abilities can increase their career advancement potential. In fact, in a Robert Half International survey, chief financial officers said, other than traditional accounting skills, IT proficiency is the most in-demand attribute for accountants.
Following are a few tips for expanding your technology skills:
- Help where you can. Volunteer for IT-related projects, such as a financial systems upgrade or new billing application implementation. While you may not yet be familiar with the intricacies of the initiatives, you can still contribute to their success. Offer to assist with the beginning or end stages, which are typically not quite as technical. For example, you could supervise the quality control process or test the final results to ensure they meet the business objectives. Ask your IT coworkers for help when you need it.
- Practice. Apply the expertise accumulated through your hands-on experiences when working on new projects, and don’t be afraid to branch out and get involved in new areas. Along the way, ask insightful questions of the technology team to gain additional knowledge.
- Continue learning. Many companies and professional associations provide classes or workshops on technology-related topics. Also consider pursuing a technical certification, such as the certified information technology professional (CITP) accreditation. In addition to building your expertise, these designations can boost your starting salary by as much as 10 percent, according to the Salary Guide from Robert Half International.
- Stay current on IT issues. Review industry publications for updates on the latest technologies and skills in demand. Stay in touch with members of your network regarding the trends impacting their positions and businesses and take advantage of resources offered by professional associations.