02 September 2016
In recent years, new rules and regulations have required the role of an accountant to change. While this has led to an influx of hiring, it has also transformed the way employers identify the right fit for a specific role. In the past, it was common and almost a given that technical skills alone could see your way through to a new job. However, long gone are the days where that alone is enough to land you any job of your choosing. Today, the soft skills you possess are just as important as your technical proficiency and aptitude. “In the old days, a good accountant could sit at their desk and do all of their work there,” says Irv Myones, a Senior Managing Director within the Execu|Search Group’s Accounting and Finance division. “In a business landscape that can be unpredictable at times, accountants need to be able to think and act strategically in order to be successful. As a result, employers will be looking out for less-tangible skills and personality traits that imply you can do this.” If you’re looking to stand out as the perfect candidate, here are four soft skills that will make any hiring manager interested in hiring you: Communications skills As a professional in the current job market, you’ll not only be responsible for communicating with colleagues in your department, but with clients as well. Because of this, you’ll want to show your potential employers that you have exceptional written and verbal communication skills which can be utilized in order to get messages across. Make sure that when you communicate through email and written messages, that you demonstrate an unmatched attention to detail by having no typos or spelling errors . When you go into your next interview, you’ll want to focus on being able to speak clearly and concisely so that the hiring manager can see that you will be able to communicate with diverse sets of people. Leadership/Confidence Alongside communication skills, strong leadership abilities and self-confidence are also being increasingly sought after by hiring manager. Regardless of whether you’re an experienced or entry-level candidate, most if not all interviewers will assess whether or not you have the confidence to lead a group and/or discuss your findings with others. Even if the role you’re applying to doesn’t have clearly outlined leadership responsibilities, you want to show that you step up and take the initiative when necessary. And who knows? Proving your leadership capabilities early on can lead to tremendous job growth in the future! Client service skills Many of today’s accounting and finance roles hold client-facing responsibilities, and you’ll likely struggle in any role if your client service skills aren’t as up to speed as they need to be. As an accounting professional in the current job market, you want to be able to explain your work in a way that someone without your level of expertise will be able to understand. “It’s important to show that you’re able to show a potential employer how you resolved a burning issue through discussion and winning over ‘the other side’ of the conversation,” Irv says. Self-motivation While you will be required to communicate and collaborate with various colleagues, there will also be times where you will be required to work on projects that start and stop with you. In these situations, you’ll be tasked with planning and performing several responsibilities on your own, which will require you to show your initiative and willingness to see a project through start to finish. An excellent way to show prospective employers that you possess this skill is to highlight a past experience where you faced adversity or were required to learn a new skill in order to complete a project.