In new research out from specialist recruitment firm Robert Half, people skills are now essential for those in accounting and finance, with many candidates missing out on roles for their lack of interpersonal ability.
In a survey conducted by Robert Half of 1,400 Chief Financial Officer’s (CFOs) across the United States, they determined that interpersonal skills were the number one attribute employers found most valuable in their finance staff. This is up significantly from five years ago when interpersonal skills were cited by only one percent of respondents.
Andrew Brushfield, Director of Robert Half in Australia is not surprised by the findings that also reveal a third (31%) of CFOs would choose applicants with people skills over other attributes, such as advanced certifications.
“In Australia, it’s quite clear that the roles of the accountant and finance manager have evolved. These professionals now have increased visibility in their respective organisations because they need to be closer to business decision making and oversee outgoing dollars. They must also be able to present financial information to non-financial audiences, make strategic recommendations and work with colleagues from diverse departments,” he said.
According to Brushfield, employers take the view that some skills such as technical competencies can be taught, while other soft skills such as building rapport cannot.
“No matter how hard employees work or how many good ideas they may have, if they cannot connect with their colleagues, their professional life will suffer,” said Brushfield.