Communication, Collaboration, Time Management and Critical Commercial Thinking are four key soft skills that accounting, and finance professionals can upskill according to Journal of Accountancy. This will help with their existing role or if they are looking for a move to another organisation.
These softer skills are in high demand when it comes to hiring accounting and finance personnel. Here at Martina Quinn Finance Recruitment where our teams have extensive experience (67 years combined) recruiting in the Irish Market’, have seen a shift in what employers look for in new accounting and finance employees.
In the last 30 years we have lived through a digital revolution. It was a privilege and not a right to have a PC and access to the internet which used to be through dial up. An accountant’s trusty weapon of choice was a calculator.
In today’s world accounting and finance professionals need access to a solid laptop with excellent processors and plenty of RAM. This is because today’s accountant needs to be technologically clued into the many accounting and finance software platforms they need to use.
As the industry gets more digitalized and automated soft skills can often be overlooked when an accountant or finance professional was a student looking to climb the corporate ladder. However, its these soft skills that can help accountants and finance personnel to reach where they want to be.
A recent survey by the Society for Human Resource Management published in May 2020 titled “Leaders and Employees Need Soft Skills Now More than Ever”. In their survey 97% of employers stated soft skills were either as important or more important than hard skills.
Hiring managers naturally look through candidate’s experience, necessary education, and qualifications. However, this is when they are trying to get to know their candidates from CV or LinkedIn profile. Hiring managers will want accounting and finance personnel with great knowledge combined well rounded interpersonal skills too.
In making a decision for hiring accountants and finance professionals you will want personnel that possess the above-mentioned soft skills combined with experience and industry know how. In this article we provide detailed information about the four key soft skills hiring managers are looking for.
Accounting and finance professionals are what keep businesses moving they are the foundation of every organisation. At some stage every department and business function must interact with the finance or accountancy team. This could be invoices, credit control to company audit summaries.
For this reason, it’s important that companies have accounting and finance professionals with excellent communication skills. The ability to present and communicate corporate financial strategies and report findings to company board members is important and having adequate communication skills is the foundation.
Accounting and finance teams will need to persuade and articulate valid points behind financial decisions and will need senior directors to back their decisions from time to time. Having communications skills to do this will help jobseekers progress within the organisation.
Written communication skills are just as important as verbal. Getting the tone right in your emails to team members, management and clients is vital. Making sure your emails are clear and concise and friendly.
Top Tip: Try and avoid using accountancy jargon when communicating with clients and colleagues who don’t come from an accountancy and finance background. Write your piece in such a way that anyone could understand it, not just those on your finance team.
For written communication, read over it and doublecheck for errors. For presenting reports, we would recommend reading over your presentation slides and practising presenting it in advance.
Accounting and finance teams no longer work independently reporting on finance related items. Business and businesses have become more complex and the need to work and communicate with other departments is necessary.
Companies today want more involvement from the accountant and finance professional in the business process and decision making. Accountants and finance teams are required to analyse raw data and provide their advice on businesses decisions.
As an accountant collaboration skills such as empathy, teamwork and problem-solving skills are all necessary to get ahead in your career. The ability to collaborate with colleagues, clients and external suppliers is a key skill to develop and grow in the accounting and finance profession.
To enhance your collaboration skills, we advise to get involved in networking at company events, chamber of commerce events and industry relevant events. Get involved with social committees within your organisation and try to get to know everyone. You never know how ye can help each other in your current and future roles.
This is an essential skill for the accounting and finance professional. Its in the majority of job specs that go out on the job’s boards. This is because many accountancy firms are deadline focused and billing hours for clients need to be accurate.
Finance can be seen as more task orientated, so managing your time so you won’t be snowed in with work is essential. This particularly true when it comes to certain times of the year such as filing tax returns etc.
Critical Commercial Thinking
In your accounting and finance career you might face new challenges or unexpected errors. Critical thinking and problem solving skills is what will help you succeed at your chosen firm.
Being a critical thinker will allow you to evaluate complex situations and allow you to come up with logical and sometimes creative answers to complicated questions or scenarios. Critical thinking will allow you to make informed business decisions and devising strategic plans.
Critical commercial thinking allows the accountant to use the numbers, data and look beyond them to determine where the business should be heading for. A CFO needs to have excellent commercial awareness, look beyond the finance function and take in the bigger picture to know where value can be added to the business.
Being a critical commercial thinker is:
- Knowing what global events are happening that will affect your business,
- Understanding and being aware of the company’s market and its place in the macro environment
- Insight into new trends and new technologies and how they will benefit your market share
To progress your career soft skills could be the last piece of the jigsaw to climb the ladder in your organisation.
Martina Quinn Finance Recruitment specialises in the placement of qualified accountants up to executive level nationwide, Our teams have extensive experience (67 years combined) recruiting in the Irish Market. Reach out to the team here in Martina Quinn Finance Recruitment for the best advice and support in building your finance teams contact us today.