I need a word which means capable, confident, legitimate.

It should imply no negative connotation when used in this sentence:

He wanted to become a (more) ____ accountant.

“Legitimate” would not work, because it implies that he was not legitimate before.

It needs to imply that he was a working accountant before, but became more capable. A phrase may also work, but the primary focus is to find a single word that describes this.

  • 1
    Have you consulted a dictionary/thesaurus? Are "accomplished", "skilled", "competent" inadequate? Jan 5, 2015 at 2:25
  • "Skilled" should be considered, thought some might find it mildly strange when applied to "accountant" (rather than, say "mechanic" or "computer programmer").
    – Hot Licks
    Jan 5, 2015 at 4:34

3 Answers 3



Competent, most likely.

  • having the necessary ability, knowledge, or skill to do something successfully
  • 1
    "Competent" is often used with an implied negative connotation, to indicate the individual "meets requirements" but nothing more.
    – Hot Licks
    Jan 5, 2015 at 4:31

I would suggest the word Proficient as it implies a higher level of skill. Someone can be capable or legitimate without being proficient.

  • Related is "credible", which implies that he has reached a level of skill and legitimacy such that peers or clients now believe him competent. Jan 5, 2015 at 6:02
  • @Brian “He’s a credible accountant” to me sounds like he’s an actor whose impression of an accountant is so good that he could be believed to actually be one. Jan 5, 2015 at 14:20
  • @Janus Bahs Jacquet: touché. But if all the world's a stage... and he's good enough to fool his peers, what's the difference? that is, until he comes up against the CPA exam! (There's a reason I put that in a comment; I had a feeling it wasn't really a "credible" answer.) Jan 6, 2015 at 8:06

"Professional" would tap into concepts of both capability and legitimacy, since it implies both competence and some form of collective regulatory control.

  • “Became a more professional accountant” could imply that he did not meet basic standards of professionalism before, and “became a professional accountant” implies that he was not employed as an accountant before. Jan 5, 2015 at 16:52

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