Why Accountants Make Great Leaders


There are substantial challenges to being a good leader.

Whether it’s balancing the demands of management with those of your team, or keeping 10 balls in the air simultaneously, being a leader requires some very specific skills. Accountants, with their training, ability to see the big picture and build business partnerships, make great leaders.

Professional Conduct/Ethics

Strong professional ethics are a hallmark of any great leader in the finance and accounting industry. Regardless of their designation, professional accountants have been schooled to keep their ethics at the forefront of their decision-making processes. Why is this valuable in a leader? In a world where misrepresenting the numbers can lead to poor business decisions, a determination to accurately represent the data can be the difference between a successful outcome and a company that charts an unhealthy course.

The Big Picture

Great leaders understand their company’s vision and how to get there. Accounting touches every department in an organization, imparting a unique sense of the big picture. With their natural tendency to be detail-oriented, accountants who also understand the overarching drive of the organization, can make great leaders.

Business Partnerships

An accountant who becomes a leader also has to be a strong communicator. In a world of tight deadlines, they must be able to build constructive, cross-functional business partnerships with other people in the organization. As they must work at the junior level to achieve their designation (see CPA, CGA training), they also gain an understanding of what it’s like to work in the trenches. This leads to strong mentoring skills and an ability to connect with those at different levels of the organization.

As Warren Bennis said, “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” With their training and work experience, accountants marry strong professional conduct with an ability to see the big picture. Ultimately, their commitment to building true business partnerships with those around them, results in an organization that meets its objectives and achieves its vision.