Problem solving skills for accountants are so valuable because businesses are full of problems that need solving – and almost all business problems have some kind of financial impact.

Therefore accountants with problem solving skills are highly valuable.

As a technically proficient accountant you understand many technical solutions to finance problems and issues.

You know what complies with the rules, what is possible and what is not.

However there comes a time when you are faced with problems that are difficult, eiether because they aren’t well-formed, are ambiguous or complex.

Complex problems

These are problems where there is no right answer and the issues span multiple disciplines and departments.

Developing problem-solving skills will set you apart from your colleagues, as you will be able to help solve these complex problems.

For instance, you will be a vital resource for developing the finance function.

You’ll also become a valued partner to other non-financial managers.

You will be able to propose solutions that work for you and them.

You can also ensure that they work within the financial constraints that you understand well.

Understanding business problems

The first step is to understand the problem thoroughly. To examine it from every relevant angle and understand it in context.

This means understanding the business, what is important and what would be right for the business – not just finance.

Lateral thinking for problem solving

Solving a business problem often requires lateral thinking – coming at things from a new perspective.

With your financial and analytical mind you can bring a valuable perspective that your colleagues may lack.

If you are able to develop lateral thinking skills you can make a significant contribution to the debate. Particularly when you use these alongside and combined with your technical and analytical approach.

Creative ideas

Accountants aren’t always noted for their creative thinking. Therefore being able to suspend judgement and think creatively and imaginatively can give you an edge over others. Because this enables you to bring something unique and different to the discussion.

Learning to think creatively can be liberating and fun. But it can also produce some new insights and innovations.

These can make everyone’s lives more productive and set you apart from your colleagues.

Proposing solutions

Having great ideas is one thing, but arguing the case for them and presenting your proposed solutions to your colleagues and decision-makers is another.

Being able to see – and sell – the benefits of a solution requires an insight into the business, your colleagues and the office politics that inevitably exist.

Why are problem solving skills for accountants so important?

Most business problems have a financial dimension and as accountant you have unrivalled expertise.

An accountant who can proactively solve business problems will be a highly valuable asset for any business..


Being a creative problem-solver may not be your natural strength, but these skills can be learnt and developed.

You have a huge opportunity to become a highly valued member of the team if you can develop your problem solving skills.

How are you developing your problem solving skills?

Do you have sufficient understanding of the business to propose solutions that will be accepted?

How adept are you at persuading others of the merits of your solution?

Which of the other key soft skills for accountants do you need to develop?

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