Accounting students probably know that their chosen field is expected to remain robust throughout our uncertain economic future; the Bureau of Labor Statistics claims that, between now and 2018, accountants and auditors are likely to experience “much faster than average” employment growth. But to distinguish themselves from countless other applicants after graduation, students should seek out “real world” skills early on. Proficiency with business accounting software is critical to the modern skillset.
For the good of those bright young minds and others in the accounting field, I’ve gone over five hundred randomly selected accounting job postings from Monster.com, Career Builder, Craigslist, Simply Hired, and Accounting Jobs Today to see which software systems employers mentioned the most. Check out the results below.
This article would be a whole lot shorter, and a lot less interesting, if I focused on the one product you absolutely must know – Microsoft Excel. Nearly one hundred percent of these employers mentioned Excel skills as a necessity. If you’re an accounting student and you don’t know about Excel, I advise you to stop reading this immediately and go learn it.
For those of you who remain, here are some key research findings that will help you get the job:
- When finding your first job, look for a company that uses a “big name,” widely-used accounting system like SAP, Microsoft Dynamics or Oracle. That will improve your odds of getting hired next time you’re in the market for a new position.
- More and more companies are focused on business intelligence – the tools that analyze financial data to uncover business trends and opportunities. Try to gain experience in Business Objects, Crystal Reports, Cognos, etc.
- If you’re looking to work in a big corporation, you should learn systems like SAP and Oracle. If mid-size companies are your thing, learn Sage and Microsoft Dynamics. Quickbooks skills are always in demand, but especially by smaller companies.
- As the Microsoft Dynamics products converge, knowing any one of these systems will give you transferable skills across the entire Dynamics product line. For now, Dynamics GP appears to be in highest demand.
- Don’t get too comfortable with PeopleSoft or JD Edwards; although they make sizable slices of Oracle’s pie, they’re likely to decline in use as Oracle migrates to its Fusion apps. However, this won’t be happening any time in the immediate future.
Are you a recent graduate on the job hunt in the accounting field? An employer or accounting professional with a stubborn preference for one special system? Let us know in the comments.