Accountants are taking an increasingly visible role within their organizations, working on cross-departmental projects ranging from strategic planning to information technology initiatives. In addition, they are presenting data to a number of diverse audiences. As a result, employers look for accounting professionals who not only possess financial expertise but also strong communication skills.
Following are a few skill sets critical to accountants and their career growth:
- Interpersonal—As you work with individuals from different areas of your company, you’ll be required to address diverse business issues. You’ll also need to work well within a team, sharing the workload while completing assignments successfully and on deadline.
- Writing—Accounting professionals prepare myriad types of communications, including financial reports, inter-departmental memos, strategic plans and proposals. When drafting a document, organize your thoughts and use language that the recipients will understand. Be sure to proofread everything you write, and don’t simply rely on spell check. If written poorly, your messages may lose credibility or be dismissed altogether.
- Verbal—As an accounting professional, you must be able to convey complex information in terms that everyone can understand. The first step is to familiarize yourself with the topic. Next, research your audience, including their purpose for participating in the discussion, their concerns, time constraints and attitudes. Then, tailor your speech as appropriate. The more prepared and knowledgeable you are about the participants, the more confident you’ll be and the greater the impact your message will carry.