By Ruoro Kairu
I was at a networking event recently. During the Q&A session, one of the participants said he was just about to finish his studies and join the job market as an accountant.
“I’ve been asking around on what I need to succeed as an accountant. Most accountants have advised I get practical accounting skills such as learning how to file taxes on iTax, how to use accounting software such as QuickBooks. However, they have also been advising I acquire soft skills.
As an accountant, I feel I’ll be more involved in the back end and not dealing with customers. Does an accountant really need soft skills?”
While the argument had merit, I later approached a few senior accountants to best understand whether soft skills are necessary or not.
Who needs soft skills?
Most professionals believe those on the front end of a business, or those who deal with customers directly are the ones who need soft skills training. Some of these professions include customer service, administration, human resources, personal assistants, and so on.
However, soft skills are much more than just talking to a client or a walk-in customer.
Essentially, soft skills help up relate better with other professionals, customers, managers, and so forth. Thus, when you build your interpersonal skills, you’re in a position to grow your career.
For example, when you have effective communication and presentation skills, you can speak with confidence at a meeting, or when you’re addressing your boss. If you compare an accountant whose confident over a nervous one, when the boss is looking to promote one, they’ll likely go with the confident one.
In accounting, soft skills help you to;
1. Effectively work with other professionals and departments
Synergy in the workplace contributes to growth for both the professionals and the organization. When you can clearly communicate and pass ideas around, you’re able to pull together towards a common goal.
Additionally, you’re also able to effectively communicate with the managers as you’re submitting various accounting reports.
2. Lead others within and outside of your department
If you’re leading a team, supervisory skills will help you create efficiency in the group. Leadership skills help you manage the capability of each member of your team.
Additionally, it is easier for you to get a promotion to a senior position if you have effective leadership skills.
Ultimately, both practical and soft skills are important in accounting. A combination of these skills will help you grow your career.