Accounting Specialist Skills Guide

Recommended High School Level Background Courses

  • Business Math
  • Bookkeeping
  • *Economics
  • *Algebra I
  • Accounting
  • *Composition
  • *Algebra II
  • General Business
  • Speech
  • Recordkeeping
  • Business Law
  • Keyboarding

* Courses available in the Academic Achievement Center or the
High School Completion Center.

Basic Skills in the Program and on the Job


Strong reading skills are important in this program. The accounting texts, which are a central part of the course work, are written at a college level. Tests are based on a combination of text and lectures. Texts are accompanied by practice sets which require following sequential instructions.

In addition to their texts, students will read spreadsheets and use computer software manuals for spreadsheet and word processing programs. They may be required to read articles from business magazines and trade journals such as the Journal of Accountancy. In the work place, they will also refer to source documents and input documents for financial data.

View more information on reading skills in the Accounting Specialist program.


Fundamentals of Oral Communication (SPC 101) is a program requirement. Other speaking activities may include oral reports on accounting-related magazine articles. In the work place, accountants will interact on a one-to-one basis with coworkers. They may also be required to explain their accounting procedures to an auditor.

Two semesters of English are required. For the first course, students may select either Composition I (ENG 105) or Business English (ADM 157). For the second, they may choose Composition II (ENG 106), Composition II: Technical Writing (ENG 108), or Communication Skills (COM 703). Composition I and Composition II: Technical Writing are strongly recommended. These courses involve extended writing assignments ranging from personal experience essays to technical reports. In their other courses, students may be required to summarize, interpret, and analyze journal articles. They will prepare resumes and letters of application in Accounting Career Seminar.

On the job, accountants may compose business letters, memos, and disclosure notes to accompany financial statements.

View more information on language skills in the Accounting Specialist program.


A strong general math and algebra background is essential for the two college-level math courses required in this program; therefore, either two years of high school algebra, MAT 073 (Elementary Algebra II), or MAT 141 (Finite Math) is a program entry requirement. In ACC 131 (Principles of Accounting I) students learn to solve simple linear equations such as the basic A = L + OE (assets equals liabilities plus owner's equity). More complicated algebraic formulas are used in Intermediate Accounting and Cost Accounting; these formulas are also used in the work place in the preparation of financial statements.

View more information on math skills in the Accounting Specialist program.


Good time management skills are crucial to this program, as accounting courses require three to four hours of homework for each hour spent in class. Strong reasoning skills are also important. Students must learn to follow sequential instructions carefully; the accounting cycle proceeds in a specific order, and accounting-related software also requires a specific sequence of steps. Students use observational and comparison skills to red-flag errors in financial statements. They must then use cause-effect reasoning to find the source of the problem and correct the statement. Inferential thinking is used to consider the implications of irregularities in statements.

View more information on learning skills in the Accounting Specialist program.


Good keyboarding skills are imperative in this program and on the job; ADM105 (Intro to Keyboarding) or the equivalent is strongly recommended prior to program entry. In the program, students take both Introduction to Computers (CSC 110) and Accounting Spreadsheets (ACC 361) . In the work place, accountants use email, word processing, presentation, and spreadsheet programs extensively, including the graphics component to present financial data pictorially.

View more information on computer skills in the Accounting Specialist program.

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