Taking a hard look at soft skills
In a previous blog, I considered the implications of Artificial Intelligence for accountancy practices and discussed the growing need for accounting professionals to possess both hard and soft skills. But what do we mean by soft skills?
At Fletcher George, we keep a keen eye on recruitment trends in the finance and accountancy sectors. While recruitment in practice has traditionally been focused on financial, technical, analytical and mathematical capabilities, of equal importance today are the softer skills – skills such as communication, problem solving, adaptability and collaboration. Indeed, the most recent Global Talent Trends report from LinkedIn reveals that employers are putting ever greater emphasis on soft skills.
‘Soft skills’ covers a wide range of competencies and characteristics, but here are four that recruiters are frequently looking for.
How you present yourself – face to face, on paper, online – sets the tone for how your clients view you and your business. People do business with people so making sure that every member of your team has the all-important interpersonal skills and is able to communicate clearly and professionally is business-critical, remembering that good verbal communication is as much about listening as it is about talking.
Problem solving and the ability to think on their feet are also core skills that the best candidates possess. As accounting practices move more towards advisory services, so the need to be able to respond effectively to a range of client challenges becomes ever-more important. Good judgement and intuition go hand-in-hand with problem solving.
New technologies and working practices are changing the way that the accounting and finance profession operates. The industry needs people with a willingness to embrace and adapt to that change.
More than ever, success depends on the entire team working together around shared values and goals. The best accountants are those that can collaborate with colleagues and clients to achieve the best outcomes.
Some people have a more natural ability when it comes to soft skills, but training bodies are increasingly looking at ways to support the next generation of accountancy professionals to develop and enhance their competencies in these key areas.
Director, Fletcher George Financial Recruitment
Fletcher George is an independent finance and accountancy recruiter working, primarily with finance and accounting professionals in South West London and Surrey including the Hampshire and Sussex borders. We recruit for both Public Practice and also for commercial businesses in the local area.
For more information, please contact Lisa on: 01372 364 160 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org