Communication skills have grown in importance for accounting and finance professionals, but workers may be on their own when it comes to developing this expertise, a new survey from Accountemps shows. Among chief financial officers (CFOs) surveyed, 75 percent said that verbal, written and interpersonal skills are more valuable now to accounting and finance professionals than they were just five years ago. Only 37 percent of respondents reported their firms provide formal training in the area of communications, however.
“Enhanced reporting standards and increased cross-departmental collaboration have led to greater visibility and a more prominent role for accounting and finance professionals,” said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps and author of “Managing Your Career For Dummies®”. “When hiring for management positions, employers look for candidates who can build rapport with colleagues, resolve conflicts and develop consensus among members.
“Employees with an eye toward advancement shouldn’t wait for their companies to provide soft-skills training,” Messmer said. “Identifying a mentor, taking courses in business writing and public speaking, and volunteering for team leadership roles are excellent ways to become a more effective communicator.”
The survey was developed by Accountemps, the world’s first and largest specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from more than 1,400 CFOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with more than 20 employees.