What Are the Characteristics of a Good Staff Accountant?

by Laurie Reeves, Demand Media
    Good staff accountants always offer a smile.

    Good staff accountants always offer a smile.

    Good staff accountants have a head for numbers. They enjoy working with figures and categorizing income and expenses for a business, government agency or nonprofit organization. As a staff accountant, you need to be upbeat and positive when interacting with co-workers or managers. Research skills are at the top of the list for a good staff accountant.

    Accuracy

    A good staff accountant is accurate when dealing with numbers. Because errors can occur wherever people are involved, a characteristic of a good staff accountant requires her to spot and correct any accounting errors. She has developed the ability to easily find errors and make the adjusting entries without being negative about the mistake. Whether the mistake was hers or not, a good staff accountant doesn't get uptight or defensive about errors, because she understands the bottom line is the need for accuracy.

    Communication

    Her communication skills are top-notch; she gets along with everyone. She communicates easily with co-workers in the accounting department or helps answer questions posed by other co-workers clearly and succinctly. She can interact and communicate with anyone from all levels of the company; people feel comfortable in her presence. She doesn't turn people off by being negative, snappy or authoritarian.

    Analysis and Research

    The good staff accountant knows how to complete research accurately and then analyze the researched material in a format that others can understand. For example, she might need to work with managers to create department budgets and make projections about income or expenses. She prepares extensive reports based upon her analysis and research of accounting figures.

    Team Player

    As a team player, the staff accountant works well with her teammates. She contributes her thoughts and ideas and supports her teammates accordingly. She sets a standard for a good work ethic and others follow her lead. Teammates often turn to her for inspiration and support. She's knowledgeable about company policies and procedures and shares this knowledge freely with her teammates.

    Accounting Rules and Theories

    Most staff accountants are generalists who oversee or complete a variety of accounting tasks for a business or organization. She stays abreast of general accepted accounting principles, known in the industry as GAAP; she refreshes her knowledge as needed by continuing her education or attending conferences, workshops and seminars. She's a valuable asset to the company or organization for which she works.

    Salary and Job Outlook

    The U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics places the median annual wage for accountants in 2010 at $61,690 per year. The lowest 10 percent earned $38,940 while the highest 10 percent earned more than $106,880 in that same period. The bureau reports continued growth at 16 percent from 2010 through 2020 for accountants, about the average for all occupations.

    About the Author

    A former journalist and newspaper managing editor, Laurie Reeves has decades of experience in accounting, marketing, museum management and small business administration. Handy with all kinds of tools, Reeves designed and helped her husband build their dream home. On a creative note, she sews, crochets, draws, paints, enjoys crafting, making homemade beer and working with clay. A native California and book author, she graduated from San Diego's Coleman College.

    Photo Credits

    • SW Productions/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images