9 answers

With continued advances in technology, how often do accountants learn new software to do their job? What are some of the most common ones currently used?

Asked Elk Grove, California

9 answers

Ken’s Answer

Updated Cleveland, Ohio

Many successful successful professionals participate in professional associations to which others in their speciality area belong. It is through these professional associations that accountants keep up with developments and training opportunities related to the their specialty area.

It is best to become more aware of how you fit into an accounting speciality and get to know others working in that speciality area early on in your education, so that you might best able keep up to speed.

Getting to know yourself and how your personality traits relate to people involved in various career opportunities is very important in your decision making process. During my many years in Human Resources and College Recruiting, I ran across too many students who had skipped this very important step and ended up in a job situation which for which they were not well suited. Selecting a career area is like buying a pair of shoes. First you have to be properly fitted for the correct size, and then you need to try on and walk in the various shoe options to determine which is fits the best and is most comfortable for you to wear. Following are some important steps which I developed during my career which have been helpful to many .

Ken recommends the following next steps:

  • The first step is to take an interest and aptitude test and have it interpreted by your school counselor to see if you share the personality traits necessary to enter the field. You might want to do this again upon entry into college, as the interpretation might differ slightly due to the course offering of the school. However, do not wait until entering college, as the information from the test will help to determine the courses that you take in high school. Too many students, due to poor planning, end up paying for courses in college which they could have taken for free in high school.
  • Next, when you have the results of the testing, talk to the person at your high school and college who tracks and works with graduates to arrange to talk to, visit, and possibly shadow people doing what you think that you might want to do, so that you can get know what they are doing and how they got there. Here are some tips: ## http://www.wikihow.com/Network ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/nonawkward-ways-to-start-and-end-networking-conversations ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-questions-to-ask-your-network-besides-can-you-get-me-a-job?ref=carousel-slide-1 ##
  • Locate and attend meetings of professional associations to which people who are doing what you think that you want to do belong, so that you can get their advice. These associations may offer or know of intern, coop, shadowing, and scholarship opportunities. These associations are the means whereby the professionals keep abreast of their career area following college and advance in their career. You can locate them by asking your school academic advisor, favorite teachers, and the reference librarian at your local library. Here are some tips: ## https://www.careeronestop.org/BusinessCenter/Toolkit/find-professional-associations.aspx?&frd=true ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/9-tips-for-navigating-your-first-networking-event ##
  • It is very important to express your appreciation to those who help you along the way to be able to continue to receive helpful information and to create important networking contacts along the way. Here are some good tips: ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-informational-interview-thank-you-note-smart-people-know-to-send?ref=recently-published-2 ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/3-tips-for-writing-a-thank-you-note-thatll-make-you-look-like-the-best-candidate-alive?bsft_eid=7e230cba-a92f-4ec7-8ca3-2f50c8fc9c3c&bsft_pid=d08b95c2-bc8f-4eae-8618-d0826841a284&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily_20171020&utm_source=blueshift&utm_content=daily_20171020&bsft_clkid=edfe52ae-9e40-4d90-8e6a-e0bb76116570&bsft_uid=54658fa1-0090-41fd-b88c-20a86c513a6c&bsft_mid=214115cb-cca2-4aec-aa86-92a31d371185&bsft_pp=2 ##

Rachel’s Answer


Most common programs -

Speaking as a Tax Associate in Public Accounting, we most often use Excel. At PwC, there's a push to use newer more advanced programs like Alteryx, Tableau, and UiPath to help either automate processes and/or create visualizations. We also use OneSource, GoSystems, CCH, and CorpTax tax software (or SuperForms when we need one-off forms) to actually do the returns.

How often -

As I mentioned earlier, there's a push to learn the newer programs right now, which is great because they should make our outputs better and our processes more efficient. There's always going to be changes in Tax (including changes in technology but also changes in the tax law itself) and as a tax professional preparing for and implementing those changes is just part of the job. From my experience, it takes time for new technology to be used throughout the business, but people start to adopt it very early on. But for that reason, the actual frequency can vary depending on what you do, what your managers prefer, and what works best for the client.

As far as bookkeeping and standard accounting software, I'm not that familiar but in addition to what Ashley listed there is QuickBooks (used by small businesses) and Workday. I also expect that accountants/bookkeepers would probably use Excel as well.

Rachel recommends the following next steps:

  • Learn some Excel tricks! It will save you a lot of time and impress your coworkers!
  • Learn how to use Alteryx, Tableau, and UiPath. You'd come in ahead of your peers!

Alexandra’s Answer

This is a great question. In my experience, I learn new software about 3 times a year. Some common software programs we use for tax return preparation include GoSystems, ONESOURCE, CorpTax and other Thompson Reuters projects. We also heavily use Excel, PowerPoint, Alteryx, Tableau and Visio.

Rachelle’s Answer

Updated Portland, Oregon

As an associate at PwC, a Big 4 public accounting firm, I've come to realize what a big effort there is around the industry to be digitally savvy. We are constantly learning about up and coming technology that can help us be more efficient at our jobs. I encourage you to get familiar with programs like Alteryx, Tableau, and UIPath. When you begin the career search process, job recruiters will find a lot of value in you having those types of technological skillsets.

Monica’s Answer


I have been working in public accounting, specifically in Tax, for about 1 year and I have found that technology has been extremely important in my day to day activities. It is great that you are already thinking about it! I use Excel and Alteryx most often and I have some experience in UiPath. I would recommend getting as much experience with technology as possible! Professionals in accounting are always looking for way to improve processes and automate!

Mikayla’s Answer

Updated Bridgewater, Massachusetts

Hi Andy,

There's currently a big push, at least at PwC, for digitization/automation. Trainings on software such as alteryx and tableau are now required at every level. Additionally, they've rolled out sharing platforms for creating bots and programs. Many teams are putting a large emphasis on utilizing these digital capabilities, and they are huge time/money savers when providing client services.

Jess’s Answer

Technology is constantly being upgraded or changing, and therefore, we are learning new technology applications very often.

Ashley’s Answer

Updated Alpharetta, Georgia

Two commonly used are SAP and PeopleSoft. Verizon uses both. Depending on the size of the company there are smaller software options like Freshbooks.

Lindsay’s Answer

Updated Tampa, Florida

 The accounting field is always upscaling their technology. We continue to learn new technological advances everyday in the workplace.  Alteryx and Tableau are very common ones used in the industry right now. Learning is always a part of the job!