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Are accounting skills enough? No!

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Ask a potential employer or client what they look for in an accountant, and good accounting skills won’t necessarily be the first thing they say. A strong understanding of accounting, which you’ll gain with the ACCA Qualification, is a minimum. It’s expected that you should know this and it forms the base of a professional accountant’s knowledge and qualities.

Often the most important things that clients and employers want relate to the softer skills, the ones that mean you can fit in with a company’s culture, such as attitude, personal qualities, ability to communicate, to develop and maintain relationships and to understand commercial and strategic goals.

On our official LinkedIn ACCA member’s group, we asked the question – ‘What are the most important soft skills that make you stand out?’

The top three skills listed by our finance professionals:

  • Communication
  • Emotional intelligence (EQ)
  • Listening

Other skills people thought were important related to having a positive attitude, adaptability, patience and being able to accept criticism. Confidence and presentation skills were also highly valued, as were leadership and interpersonal skills.

ACCA members from around the world contributed on LinkedIn, which is a fantastic resource. It’s a great way to network with likeminded people anywhere in the world and any aspiring professional should have a profile. Join the ACCA LinkedIn page to get the latest reports and industry news.

Here are the best comments from the conversation in LinkedIn:

Dinusha H. Weerawardane ACCA, programme manager, Mercury Institute of Management, Sri Lanka

People skills for sure. It doesn't matter how technically sound your knowledge may be, if you cannot get along with clients and co-workers, then you will be stuck in the same place.

Hamid Chaudry FCCA, business planning co-ordinator, Centrica, England

Being a team player, emotional skills, good judgement, balanced personality, integrity. Anybody can learn the technical skills. Without the rest, the impact you can make, progression and respect gained, will always be restricted.

Shepherd Chimutanda FCCA, managing partner, STC International, Zimbabwe

The ability to communicate at all levels fluently; confidence, charisma, presentation skills and a positive attitude.

Gift Matashura ACCA, grants and compliance coordinator, Family Aids Caring Trust, Zimbabwe

You should be a good communicator across all levels. You should be able to fully express yourself. Positive attitude. Also, interpersonal skills are essential.

Luton Mururami, audit manager, Office of Auditor General, Zimbabwe

Ability to listen, being receptive, influencing colleagues and conceptualizing issues are paramount soft skills required to be a game changer.

Becoming a well-rounded professional

So you see, it’s not all about being ‘good with numbers’. Being an accountant is an increasingly communicative career path. Accountants work across departments to help integrate the latest financial technologies and formulate strategies to cut costs, find operational efficiencies and increase profits.

You will be expected to communicate financial information to colleagues and clients in different departments and to senior managers who will need concepts described clearly in language they’ll understand.

Furthermore, a greater amount of work will be done by cloud-based accounting software, which means businesses will be able to see a financial snapshot in real-time. This is where a combination of IT, analytical and communication skills will give you the opportunity to provide added value advice and expert insight to clients and management.

The ACCA Qualification is a great place to begin your financial career. We will provide you with the technical knowledge expected by employers. We’ll also help you to develop these increasingly important soft skills and support your growth into becoming a future finance professional, capable of working anywhere in the world. Feel free to request for a call back if you would like to speak to one of our friendly advisors or register for the ACCA Qualification today if you’re ready.

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