If the acronym “GAAP” immediately brings to mind “generally accepted accounting principles” and not riding on the U.K. underground, you may be a good fit for an accounting manager role.

Every organization, from nonprofits to governments to for-profit companies, has accounting managers. It is their job to oversee financial reporting, prepare budgets, meet compliance obligations, facilitate audits, implement effective internal controls, and manage accounting staff.

What makes them valuable?

Accuracy is what makes accounting managers so valuable. They know everything that comes in and goes out in a company, right down to the last penny. They provide guidance to the C-suite on an organization’s financial operations. If you enjoy working cross-functionally and meeting with different department heads (such as marketing, operations, and IT), you may be well-suited for this role.

The Right Personality Traits

Yes, accounting managers often work collaboratively with other departments. However, they also work well on their own and execute large projects with little to no supervision. They have an appreciation for small details while also being able to grasp the larger context of projects.

They thrive on mathematics and solving puzzles. Were you in your high school Math Club? Great! Then you may be a good candidate for this role.

The Right Mix of Skills

To perform well in this role, you will need a good mix of both hard and soft skills. An accounting manager job description may require hard skills like analytical thinking and problem-solving. However, softer skills like leadership, communication, and negotiation also make for effective accounting managers.

What kind of preparation do I need?

A bachelor’s degree in accounting or finance is a baseline requirement for the role. Some organizations may even require a master’s degree in accounting to round out your skills. Other companies may prefer candidates who have earned their Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license as well. Showing growth from an entry-level accounting position could also increase your chances of landing this management role.

What is the difference between an accounting manager and a finance manager?

A finance manager is more interested in the company’s long-term financial goals. They concentrate on strategy and analyze big data sets to find the best way to improve a company’s finances. Other responsibilities of a finance manager include:

  • Making short- and long-term projections
  • Conducting monthly forecasts
  • Investing assets
  • Monitoring KPIs

When you read an accounting manager job description, though, it focuses more on the daily tasks of an accounting department. Accounting managers are usually busy tracking and auditing financial information, analyzing financial records and transactions, and managing the accounting team members.

They ensure the entire accounting department remains productive and efficient. How do they do it? Simply by assigning tasks, hiring and firing employees, and reviewing team members’ performances. They also implement key policies and procedures.

What technology do accounting managers use?

Accounting managers regularly use cloud-based technology. This gives them access to real-time data and helps them collaborate with colleagues and clients across geographies and time zones.

Most large organizations use enterprise resource planning (ERP) platforms. These serve as a single source of organizational data. From managing inventory to compliance and reporting, ERP platforms have been game-changers for those in accounting manager roles.

Job Outlook and Salary

The good news is that you can expect to see a lot more accounting manager job description listings in the future. Financial managers could see a 16% increase in jobs from 2022 to 2032, as per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (Note: BLS uses “financial managers” interchangeably with “accounting managers.”)

Financial managers could see as many as 69,600 openings each year on average over the next decade. Why so many? There’s an expectation that companies will need to replace workers who change occupations or simply retire.

What would accounting managers like to change?

Forbes recently conducted a survey asking accounting managers about desired changes in their workplace. The results? About 70% of accountants surveyed believe that their company requires financial transformation. Additionally, 65% of accountants expressed a desire for a more strategic role within their organization.

Using technology to modernize accounting allows managers to take on new strategic roles and add value in various ways.