What is integrity? A contributor for Forbes wrote, “Integrity means doing the right thing at all times and in all circumstances, whether or not anyone is watching. It takes having the courage to do the right thing, no matter what the consequences will be.”
You might not often think of integrity when you are looking for a job. It could be easy to assume that potential employers will trust that you are honest and that you will take care of their finances with adherence to the highest moral standards. However, they may not take for granted that you have good character. It is possible that demonstrating integrity and good character can give you the competitive advantage you need when you are seeking accounting jobs.
The Importance of Integrity
A report by Cornerstone Research indicated that in 2014, the number of accounting case filings increased by 47 percent over the previous year, despite the fact that the overall number of class action filings experienced little change. “The proportion of settlements with accounting allegations increased over the prior year and represented the vast majority of the total value of settlements approved in 2014,” the report noted.
Given the ever-present threat of a lawsuit, many companies might seek to protect themselves by focusing on hiring job candidates who demonstrate above-average dedication to ethics. Integrity is often a challenge in a highly competitive corporate environment, and individuals who possess the mettle to stand up to such challenges may be difficult for employers to find.
Integrity could be especially vital for accountants because they often play a direct role in how a company’s money is managed. A blog post for Insightful Accountant listed trustworthiness as one of the most important qualities for accountants. The post explained, “Your clients are trusting you with matters they would consider to be very private. You’re handling their personal information, and they’ll take comfort in knowing that they’re putting it in the right hands. They need to know that, no matter the circumstances, no one else will ever be privy to their financial matters. It’s your job to show them your level of commitment.”
The Benefits of Integrity
It is possible that having an accountant on board who possesses a high level of integrity could protect companies from lawsuits. However, there are further benefits of integrity that employers might factor in when they are screening job candidates.
An article posted on PayScale commented on the key benefits of integrity in business. Although the information was geared toward business leaders specifically, the benefits of integrity could be applied to workers at any level. Such benefits include the following:
• Stability. If you have integrity, you will likely treat others fairly, and they can depend on you to do the right thing even when circumstances might tempt you to do otherwise.
• Safety. Your attitude is more likely to promote an atmosphere of open communication.
• Reference. You can serve as a role model for those around you.
The benefits of integrity go beyond what happens within the office; this quality can also affect how customers view a business. An article posted on the AZCentral website noted that a good reputation can stem from integrity. Such a reputation encourages customers to come back again and again and form a lasting relationship with the business. The loyalty that is thus built up can play a role in enhanced earning potential for the business, and a company’s avoidance of scandals via integrity may also aid the bottom line.
Furthermore, when an employer has a dedication to integrity, they are likely to attract employees who have a similar outlook. This can lead to a company that is trustworthy from top to bottom.
How to Show Integrity During the Job Screening Process
After you earn your online bachelor’s of accounting degree, you might put a lot of thought into crafting an attractive resume that highlights your hard skills. Do you put just as much thought into how you list your soft skills, such as integrity, on your resume? An article on UpWork’s website noted, “If you have great soft skills on your resume, you will do better than a candidate who has nothing more than the required technical skills.”
Consider listing soft skills on your resume. In addition to integrity, you might touch on your ability to work as a member of a team, your ability to lead, and your communication skills.
In conjunction with your resume, you could include character and professional references. Some of your references may serve as both. When a potential employer calls the references, your employer might hear stories of not just your ability to work but also your personality.
To prepare for your job interview, you might think of stories you could tell that demonstrate how you have exercised integrity in the past. If any of the interview questions give you an opportunity to relate such accounts, you will be prepared. For example, according to LiveCareer, one of the most common accounting job interview questions is, “How do you minimize the risk of errors in your work?” In addition to talking about how you are diligent about double-checking your work, you could comment on how important integrity is to you and how it can reduce errors.
You might benefit if, before an interview, you visit a company’s website. You could learn about the moral standards that they most value. This research might give you a further advantage during your interview.
Starting Your Career in Accounting
By showing your integrity during the job screening process, you can demonstrate that you are a solid candidate for the open position.
Hard skills are important, too. If you don’t yet have a bachelor’s degree in accounting but want to pursue one, it might be time for you to consider a 100% online option. Learn more about how an online Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Maryville University can help you pursue a fulfilling career in the business world.