CPA Skills

Will I be good at this?

Sure, if you have a healthy combination of the following:

Strong Leadership

Being a good leader is a major plus in the business world. After all, strong leadership is critical to the success of any organization, whether it's a football team, movie production company, international accounting firm or locally owned restaurant.

The best way to learn to lead is from experience, so put yourself in leadership roles, such as:

  • Tutoring one of your classmates
  • Working as an editor on your school paper, yearbook or other publications
  • Training a new employee
  • Serving as an officer in student government or other after-school clubs
  • Organizing a dance or other event
  • Acting as captain to one of your high school's sports teams
  • Working as a camp counselor or scout leader

Communications skills

In business and accounting, there’s demand for employees who don’t just have technical skills, but strong people skills too. Speaking and listening abilities go a long way in a business career.

Pay attention to how you interact with other people. Besides taking courses like public speaking and foreign language, you also hone your communications skills when you do any of the following:

  • Work in a team environment (for a class project, club, sport or job)
  • Make presentations and speeches (in class or outside of class)
  • Write for your school publication or your own blog
  • Participate in any kind of public speaking organization (such as a debate club)
  • Act in your school plays, perform comedy sketches or play in a band

Tech know-how

Nearly every industry is computerized in some way, and computers are probably second nature to you. As a CPA, you’ll need to know about existing and emerging technologies in business environments and understand how to use them effectively.

The technology you use every day now is great practice for the future, so keep it up:

  • Create Web pages
  • Try computer programming — in class, through a club, or on your own
  • Connect with other people on social networking sites
  • Keep things organized electronically (such as your digital music collection or friends' digits and addresses)
  • Keep track of your savings and spending using accounting software
  • Help yourself and your parents become financially savvy, with resources such as

Business savvy

Being business savvy means mastering your creative problem-solving skills. You should know how to examine information, interpret it and find creative solutions. Innovative answers are what will get you respect in the business world — and so will responsibility, ethics and honesty.

Maybe you don't have many opportunities to broker multibillion-dollar mergers, but you can do things every day to get ready for it, such as:

  • Read or watch the news and stay interested in what's going on in the world
  • Play strategy games to build your decision-making and strategic thinking
  • Focus hard on classes like economics, English, history, math and physics
  • Work on logic problems
  • Create or maintain schedules for groups of people (for work, clubs, etc.)
  • Come up with creative ways to solve ordinary problems
  • Work on developing a business plan/model


Want to make sure all the knowledge being flung your way is sticking? Take SAT Subject Tests in any of 20 subjects, allowing you to test your skills before taking the test.