As educated female accountants, we have acquired many valuable skills in our pursuit of an accounting career. As mothers, we also have a particular set of skills that, frankly, most men don’t.
I’m not sure if you remember the old advertising campaign jingle that said, “We can bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan,” but as working moms, we can do it all. We have the incredible ability to have a challenging accounting career while running a home and raising children.
So if we have so many tangible and intangible skills, why do we still question our value and worth? Why do we question how to achieve more career success, make more money, get a better job, or be respected more?
What additional skills do you need to acquire to improve your odds of career success? Do you need to take an advanced Intuit course? Should you go for a Master’s Degree in Taxation? Should you become a CPA? How do you make yourself more valuable?
How do you gain a competitive advantage in a competitive field like accounting? What skills are valuable to the current marketplace? These are questions I hear from many accountants, not just accountant moms.
Honestly, these are important questions to consider because, in essence, they truly are million-dollar questions. If you think about an average salary of, say, $100k per year over a 40-year career, that’s at least 4 million dollars!
I don’t know about you, but getting clear about the skills necessary to add as much value as possible so that I can achieve whatever goals I set, is important to me. It doesn’t matter where you are in your career; whether you’re just starting out or have been at it like me for over 30 years, there’s always an opportunity to improve your skills, value, and confidence.
With the ways accounting is changing rapidly, if you want to future-proof your career path, you must have a range of diverse skills, which is where skill stacking comes into play. You need to start skill stacking to help your career and become as valuable to the marketplace as possible.
By thinking beyond what might be necessary to do your job at the moment, considering some of the natural abilities that you may not have considered, or exploring skills that accountants typically don’t possess, you can begin to not only make yourself more valuable but also make your work more enjoyable. The truth is that when you feel better, you do better.
But skill stacking isn’t about having to do a lot more work. It’s about how to hone a few skills that will make the work you do more valuable.
This week I’m going to discuss the 5 skills you should consider stacking so that you can add more value as an accountant.
The 5 skills you should consider stacking
I was recently listening to a podcast for research on this topic and thought about the fact that in order to be an accountant, we already possess a good number of skills that non-accountants rarely possess. But skill stacking isn’t about being good at many things; it’s about being really good at a few important things.
For example, Steve Jobs took up calligraphy classes when he was in college without any intention to put this skill into use. But this became particularly useful years down the road when he co-founded Apple.
Apple took the industry by storm with its ability to create beautiful, simple, yet powerful products that perfectly complemented their end consumer's lifestyle. He was never the best at any one thing, but he was undoubtedly in the top 10% in a variety of skills, such as public speaking, design, sales, consumer psychology, and leadership.
Skill stacking is why Steve Jobs successfully leveraged his skill stack to turn Apple into the technology giant it is today. Imagine if he were to put in all his efforts to learn how to be the best coder in the world. How would that have turned out?
The synergy between Jobs’ skill stack made Apple a success. It wasn’t one particular skill; the level of expertise in each of those skills made him so valuable.
Now, what about you? After doing some research, I believe the following 5 skills are important for any accountant mom’s skill stack:
I have yet to meet an accountant that isn’t struggling with a lack of time. That’s why I’m always offering The Balanced Accountant Program, which my coaching clients and I have used to 10x our productivity.
To be the best you can be at your jobs and to meet the various deadlines you deal with monthly, quarterly, and yearly, you need to be as productive as possible without burning out in the process. That is truly the balancing act for most accountants, but especially accountant moms.
Most of us are just trying to check things off our to-do list without understanding how to master the skill of productivity. It is a skill that I’ve discussed on this podcast numerous times, but to improve your productivity, you must learn how to manage your time and your brain better.
Productivity is one of the most critical skills for accountants because the more productive you are, the better you are at learning and acquiring other skills. When you become someone who decides what they’re going to do and gets it done, there’s nothing you can’t achieve.
It might sound strange to say that the skill of writing should be added to an accountant’s skill stack, but I think it’s incredibly important for accountants to understand how to communicate better, especially in writing. The truth is that there’s no denying that you become a better communicator if you improve your writing skills.
In this age of technology and auto correctors, I believe we’ve become quite lazy about thinking for ourselves. I recently spoke to a fellow coach looking to write a book, and instead of taking the time to write it herself and have it edited, she said she would have it done through artificial intelligence.
She said she had never been a good writer and didn’t want to waste her time. The funny thing is that she had something written with artificial intelligence, asked her husband to read it, and he told her it sounded as robotic as he imagined it would.
The reason we must improve our writing skills is that writing is nothing more than putting our thoughts on paper and formulating a sentence. Writing is communicating what you want someone to know, whether with friends, family, co-workers, bosses, or clients.
Since most people don’t understand how to express themselves, especially in writing, when you are clear in your communication and don’t waste your time and others in miscommunication, you become increasingly valuable. I highly recommend you Improve your writing skills to stand out amongst the sea of accountants lacking communication skills.
For this skill, I’m not suggesting that you become an expert. This is about having a basic understanding of human nature, why people do what they do, and how to respond in various situations with various people.
Whether you’re an introvert like me and get drained being around too many people or not, understanding why people think, say, and do what they do is incredibly helpful when navigating an accounting career, but also navigating motherhood. There’s no getting around the fact that to be successful, you must work with others; therefore, understanding the basics of psychology is helpful.
The better you understand yourself, the easier it is to understand others. As accountants, we cannot hide behind the numbers and only improve our accounting skills; we need to put as much effort into improving our people skills as well.
This is especially important if you are in any leadership position, and if you are a mother, you are in one of the most essential leadership positions. Again, you don’t need to be an expert in psychology, but a basic understanding will help you professionally and personally.
When I was listening to a podcast for research, and the host mentioned that one of the skills was persuasion, I was intrigued but also concerned. I’ve always considered the “art of persuasion” a little creepy and sleazy.
But the way they described it was “the art and science of influencing people in an ethical way.” That was something I could get behind because, if you think about it, as mothers, we have to be pretty persuasive when it comes to our children.
We must continually persuade our children to listen to us as they grow up, even when they’re all grown and have flown the nest. The important thing with the skill of persuasion with our children is that it was something we built up over time and can learn how to apply in our professional life, not just in our personal life.
I suggest you acquire this skill at work because you might be good at your job, but if you lack the ability to influence others, you can become a people-pleaser, or worse, a doormat.
Managing Your Mind
I have proven time and time again that this skill is far more important than the others because when you understand how to manage your mind, you will be able to manage everything else. As accountants, we naturally tend to focus on accounting skills, but I promise you that your accounting skills will improve exponentially when you learn the skill of managing your mind.
This is why I’m so passionate about coaching accountants – the skill of managing your mind can take your intelligence to a whole new level. As accountants, we all believe we’re pretty smart and have the test scores to prove it, but I’m telling you, you haven’t even scratched the surface of how smart you can be.
Managing your mind makes every other skill possible because you will understand exactly how to feel less stressed and overwhelmed, how to be more focused, how to get so much more done in less time, how to make more money, and how to have a balanced life, and much more.
Add managing your mind to your skill stack, and you’ll be amazed at what’s possible.
So whether you focus on the skill of productivity, writing, psychology, persuasion, or managing your mind, building a solid skill stack, especially in the saturated field of accounting, you’ll be able to stand out in the crowd and improve your chances for success.
- It doesn’t matter where you are in your career; whether you’re just starting out or have been at it like me for over 30 years, there’s always an opportunity to improve your skills, value, and confidence.
- With the ways accounting is changing rapidly, if you want to future-proof your career path, you must have a range of diverse skills, which is where skill stacking comes into play.
- By thinking beyond what might be necessary to do your job at the moment, considering some of the natural abilities that you may not have considered, or exploring skills that accountants typically don’t possess, you can begin to not only make yourself more valuable but also make your work more enjoyable.