In today’s tech-driven business climate, accounting jobs and accounting software have a harmonious relationship.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, accounting jobs are expected to grow 6% over the next decade—but more jobs doesn’t mean easier access to them. While the report suggests “demand for accountants may lead to good prospects for entry-level positions,” it comes with the caveat that “competition will be stronger for jobs with the most prestigious accounting and business firms.”
How can applicants stand out in an increasingly crowded accounting jobs market?
For starters, candidates with a working knowledge of the latest accounting software and technology will have a significant advantage over their competition.
The software skills employers crave
So which accounting software experience is in the highest demand? To find out, we analyzed more than 100 randomly selected accounting job postings from Indeed.com and tallied the software systems that employers mention most.
Here are the top five products from our study:
Microsoft—whom you might have heard of—is the clear leader in the clubhouse, with nearly half of the analyzed jobs requiring prerequisite Microsoft Office experience. Out of the 48%, Excel is responsible for 19% of the required experience, which is more than any other software in the study. So if you don’t know how to use it, stop what you’re doing and go learn how to pivot table already.
Excel isn’t the only sought-after Microsoft product, according to our study; Microsoft Dynamics garnered 5% of the final tally, making the popular ERP system one of the top five programs listed by name. Given that ERP is built on a core foundation of accounting functionality, it makes sense that employers seek skills that overlap between these two software types. And with the convergence of Microsoft Dynamics products such as GP and AX, knowing any one of these systems will give you transferable skills across the entire Dynamics product line.
But because Microsoft products are so ubiquitous in business, the key to gaining a competitive edge lies outside the Microsoft realm; a knowledge of Oracle, SAP, or QuickBooks (or all three) will make the average candidate an above average candidate. Let’s take a closer look at these products—and how they’ll boost your candidacy.
Three accounting systems to familiarize yourself with
The fine line between accounting and ERP gets finer every year as businesses gravitate toward integrated systems and centralized data hubs. The first two products in this list exemplify this tectonic shift (or if you rather, techtonic shift), while the third represents another emerging trend: cloud-based accounting.
Here is a brief overview of each, listed in order of popularity according to our survey:
Customer ledger inquiry in JD Edwards EnterpriseOne (Source)
Between NetSuite, EPM Cloud, and JD Edwards, Oracle offers a range of accounting-based solutions for businesses of all shapes and sizes. JD Edwards, a cloud-based ERP system, was the most popular choice among the listings we analyzed—and with financial management capabilities that stack up with the best of them, it’s easy to see why.
- ✔ Bank reconciliation
- ✔ Expense reporting
- ✔ Customer ledger inquiry
Sales quotation in SAP (Source)
SAP is among a small group of ERP royalty, thanks to its core finance applications. It caters to a variety of business types—manufacturing, distribution, and retail among them—with industry-specific building blocks layered upon a foundation of financial processes. And because SAP owns such a large chunk of the software market, their products offer a foundation of skills that can translate to virtually any accounting job.
- ✔ Budget management
- ✔ Multicurrency support
- ✔ Analytics and reporting
Accounting application in QuickBooks Online (Source)
If you’re interested in finance, you’re interested in QuickBooks. Intuit’s flagship offering is the preeminent accounting software on the market, with a market share north of 80% in the United States. Its cloud-based solution, QuickBooks Online, boasts a simple interface and a deep buffet of features—making it an accessible, high-value solution for everyone from freelance accountants to enterprise organizations.
- ✔ Built-in tax functionality
- ✔ Income and expense tracking
- ✔ Invoice creation and distribution
Next steps: Other ways to stand out as a candidate
So you have a basic understanding of in-demand accounting software skills—now what? Before you tweak your resume or start submitting job applications, here is what else you can do to take your candidacy to the next level.
- Try out the products listed above. It’s one thing to know what accounting software does, and another to actually use it. Many vendors offer free trials of their products, but if you’re in a pinch, watching online tutorial videos and reading user manuals will give you a basic understanding of how these products work.
- Be selective in your search. When surveying the job market, look for a company that uses big-name, widely used accounting systems like those mentioned in this article. Having that hands-on experience with industry-leading software will increase your odds of getting hired down the road when you’re in the market for your next position.
- Get acquainted with analytics. Technologies such as AI and predictive analytics are making serious waves in the software industry and accounting is no exception. Each year, more and more companies emphasize business intelligence—i.e. the analysis of financial data to uncover business trends and opportunities—and you can bank on it being a huge part of your job in the future.
Still have questions? Our hub of software resources has answers. Between this guide to navigating QuickBooks, a list of top free and open-source accounting software, and our analysis of the must-have accounting features for growing business, you’ll have the knowledge you need to ace your interview and land that accounting job.