Accountants now more than ever need to be well in tuned with technology. We need to be tech-savvy workers. Hard skills are pretty much given but ‘soft’ IT skills must be honed. More and more employers are looking for accountants who can do more than just accounting per se. They need accountants who can use, manipulate, and navigate financial information through business applications. This is very true if you try to look at some popular job boards and forums online. I have done some sampling from Jobstreet and Jobsdb to know what employers are looking for from accountants in terms of tech skills. I only looked on accounting positions that require a certain skill or experience on financial software. All job posts in accounting are from entry level up to the accounting executive. As you can see from the chart, almost all major apps are mentioned and ranked base on the majority of employers who were looking for these skills from job applicants. You should note that these packages are not only accounting or financial in nature, they are full pledged business software like ERP and CRM. But we will only focus on the accounting side.
Sage is the company who developed the popular Peachtree. After some major re-branding, they have named their products just Sage followed by a number which usually determines the type of product they are selling. Most companies are still using the old names or probably hesitant to upgrade to the latest versions.
Some of their accounting and ERP applications include:
Sage 50 (formerly Peachtree)
Sage 300 (formerly ACCPAC)
Sage ERP X3
This is Microsoft’s ERP solution. When an employer uses this, expect a lot of integration with other Microsoft products like SharePoint and Windows. In my experience, new versions are great but old versions are so clunky. Again, old version names are still widely used.
Microsoft Dynamics AX (formerly Axapta)
Microsoft Dynamics SL (formerly Solomon)
Microsoft Dynamics GP (formerly Great Plains)
Microsoft Dynamics NAV (formerly Navision)
MYOB stands for Mind Your Own Business. Used by small to medium businesses. If you are an accountant applying for an entry level position in a mid-range company, you will likely encounter MYOB.
Another software targeted for SMB’s developed by the company Intuit. Since not all companies are that big, QuickBooks has really made it’s way into small stores, retailers and service providers because it’s simple and easy to set up and use. They have the following products:
QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions
This is one of the big guys on enterprise software. If you are aiming to work for a global company, chances are they are using Oracle. This company offers vast array of solutions and technologies. But for accountants, you may come across the following:
JD Edwards – financial management system
Essbase – database management system
Hyperion – financial management application
Smart View – tool for accessing and integrating EPM and BI content from Microsoft Office products.
PeopleSoft – financial management application
SAP is a German acronym which stands for Systeme, Anwendungen und Produkte in der Datenverarbeitung or simply means Systems, Applications and Products in Data Processing. Probably one of the best, if not the best enterprise software. Used by multinational corporations in diverse industries. If a company is looking for SAP skills, it’s probably a big opportunity for accountants if ever they get hired. This is the top tech skill that employers are looking for. SAP solutions include but not limited to:
SAP Business One
Crystal Reports – a reporting tool
SAP BPC – performance management tool
There are a lot of accounting software out there. A number of job posts also mentioned the following:
Infor SunSystem – ERP software
Computer Assisted Audit Techniques (CAATS) – for auditors
The Biz Box – ERP software
Hogan – banking software
IFCA – software for the property industry
Netsuite – cloud ERP
Xero – cloud accounting
Greentree – financial management application
Pronto – ERP software
There is one software that I didn’t include in the chart but was included in almost every accounting job post – Microsoft Excel. I didn’t put it in the chart because it’s really not an accounting application rather it’s more of an accounting tool. The point is, every accountant should be proficient with Excel. It’s a must.
One last thing, almost all companies run on a Windows environment. So knowledge in Windows operating systems (at least XP, or Vista, 7 and 8) would help. You should brush up your skills in Microsoft Office products as well other than Excel. There’s Word, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Visio and Access. Day to day tasks of accountants revolve around these apps.
You may ask, how will I ever learn these programs? Well, unless you are working in a company that uses them, you probably won’t. BUT, you may find that some providers offer trial software. So you may want to use and test-drive them for a limited time and possibly limited features. There are also trainings you can avail, books you can read and articles you can discover. In reality, we only accumulate these tech skills as we change jobs and progress with our careers. Whatever software your company is using right now, make a commitment to really learn it and embrace it. And if you ever change jobs, you may already have the required skill and training that you can carry as you move on.