Exceptional communication skills are a must-have for every professional. A degree may get you a job, but only sound communication will help you climb the corporate ladder. Employers prefer applicants with outstanding communication ability and confidence to voice their opinion. It’s true for professionals across industries and occupations globally, and particularly for people pursuing accounting.
Need for Communication Skills for Accountants
Accountants were once considered aloof and kept to their chambers while being occupied with crunching numbers. Now, technical accounting skills are not enough for a successful career in this highly demanding industry. Accountants are expected to communicate with leadership, internal and external teams, business clients, and vendors to build a professional network. It is not possible without a strong and confident grip on verbal, non-verbal, and written communication techniques.
Below are 14 reasons to highlight the need for communication skills for accountants:
1. Listen to Understand
Listening is an underrated skill, yet the most essential one to establish sustainable professional relationships. Accountants ought to be good listeners to understand, comprehend, and solve concerns at work, unbiased. Listening enables you to intently approach a client’s, a colleague’s, or a manager’s concern clearly and builds trust between you.
2. Pitch Confidently
Accountants should be able to confidently pitch value-adding proposals that benefit the organization’s bottom line. They are responsible for a company’s financial resources, budget planning, expenditures, costs, and investment decisions. Only proposals with a convincing voice, firm body language and persuasion will get the listeners’ attention. An apprehensive, hesitant, and unclear speaker will quickly lose the audience’s interest. The good news is professionals can equip themselves with communication in accounting through online available advanced courses and degrees. The programs are comprehensive enough to prepare struggling accountants with communication skills.
3. Conduct Negotiations
Communication skills are now mandatory eligibility criteria for employment throughout global accounting firms. The reason being that accountants are required to hold serious negotiations with potential clients, tax firms, and government organizations. Striking profitable and cost-effective deals can be done through outstanding negotiation skills. The ultimate goal of a negotiator is to convince the other party with conviction and form a gainful partnership.
4. Promote Business Development
Communication skills are essential for accountants to build good relationships with prospective clients and industry networks. It supports business development, lead generation, increased clientele, profitable partnerships, and successful collaborations. Accountants with amazing communication skills convert every interaction into a growth opportunity.
5. Presentation & Public Speaking
Accountants are required to present complex technical data to teams or leadership that may include non-accounting professionals. The inability to explain industry jargon and interpret numbers in simple language reflects negatively on the individual. Similarly, public speaking reflects your confidence and is an essential leadership quality. You may be a great accounting professional but poor presentation and public speaking skills will jeopardize your growth and progress.
6. Effective Written Communication
Apart from verbal communication, written communication is also significant for accountants. Major official communication takes place through emails, messages, and formal letters. Therefore, accounting professionals should learn the fundamentals of communicating through this medium. Effective writing is not merely grammar but includes word choice, tone, and overall structure of the message.
7. Appear Confident in Meetings
Meetings are an integral part of a professional’s average workday and accountants are no exception. Accountants with good communication skills confidently voice their opinions and speak their minds during meetings. They do not shy away from productive discussions and deliberations at work. Conversely, accountants with poor communication skills will stay quiet in meetings, not contribute, and are misunderstood as uninterested and disengaged. Sooner or later, people will not approach them or include them in major decisions.
8. Communicate with Clients
A pleasant and confident first impression attracts prospective clients. Accountants with persuasive skills and a convincing style will influence potential customers to extend business ties. Clients don’t like uneasy posture, broken eye contact, unclear conversation, and confused facial expressions. It will make you appear unprepared and uncomfortable in the client’s presence.
9. Write Professional Reports
Reporting is a major part of an accountant’s job and requires keen attention to detail. An audit report, project feasibility, or budget summary asks for a professional highly skilled at report writing. Accountants prepare plenty of such reports throughout their careers and so being average is unacceptable. Well-structured and put-together reports reflect hard work, professionalism, and dedication. Similarly, reports crafted below-par show a lack of concern, poor quality, and a non-serious work attitude.
10. Leading Teams
To succeed as leaders, accountants need extraordinary communication skills. Leaders who connect with team members build trust, promote transparency, and establish an inclusive culture. Great leaders motivate and encourage employees to grow and add value. Leaders with weak communication are unable to build rapport with their teams resulting in disengagement and a decrease in productivity.
11. Feedback for Improvement
Communication skills are essential to give and receive quality feedback for gap identification and development. Accountants need to learn the art of giving and receiving feedback for their own and others’ benefit. Regular, consistent, and constructive feedback is important to overcome shortcomings and improve performance. Failure to share quality feedback hinders team morale and efficiency. Likewise, receive feedback positively, keeping emotional sentiments aside.
12. Follow-up on Tasks
Accountants work simultaneously on multiple projects and assignments with their own or cross-functional teams. Strong follow-up skills ensure completion as per project timelines. It will also create a communication flow to share progress, revisit milestones, highlight discrepancies, and keep all stakeholders on board. Failure to follow up will cause miscommunication, conflicts, delays, and compromised quality.
13. Conflict Resolution
Arguments and conflicts are usual occurrences at workplaces. During a conflict, strong emotions may overpower the participants and matters may get worse. Accountants can utilize effective communication skills in a conflict to reach an agreeable resolution. Approach such a situation with patience, and empathy, and practice active listening to understand and investigate. Someone with sound communication skills will bring forward a solution acceptable for all.
14. Interview like a Pro
Interviews can be overwhelming and cause unease. Accountants need communication skills to confidently showcase their skills to improve job prospects. Impress employers and interviewers with exceptional communication. Technical skills are undoubtedly a requisite but do not ignore the importance of communication skills.
Accountants are an integral part of any corporate organization and play a fundamental role in its growth. Accounting professionals cannot afford to overlook the significance of communication skills. Communication skills are vital for accountants to compete and grow as successful professionals. It is important to foster quality work relationships, business growth, and bring value. Accountants should put genuine effort into learning this key skill imperative for their career.
Umar Nisar was born and raised in the busy city of Abbottabad. As a journalist, Umar Nisar has contributed to many online publications including PAK Today and the Huffing Post. In regards to academics, Umar Nisar earned a degree in business from the Abbottabad UST, Havelian. Umar Nisar follows the money and covers all aspects of emerging tech here at The Hear Up.
Great Resignation: How to beat Great Resignation with Employee Experience
The world was forever changed in late 2019 when the Coronavirus made its appearance. Countries shut down. Streets were empty. Companies held as best they could or were forced to close their doors. Many would believe that such an event would lead to employees wanting to hold on to their jobs. Typically, large numbers of resignations signify a good economy and abundant availability of jobs allowing people to follow passions instead of necessity.
Post-COVID employee experience is much different.
For two years, and some a bit more, people were forced to spend time alone, realigning the importance of human interaction, well-being, and happiness. This drive for more personal fulfilment, satisfaction, and growth stemmed The Great Resignation.
No longer were employees basing staying with jobs out of need or comfortability. Now they look for work-homelife balance, greater satisfaction and better employee experiences, or they will leave. So how do companies face this? How do they increase employee retention and improve employee engagement?
The secret is in employee experience.
Holistic Employee Experience
There are, of course, no quick fixes for the Great Resignation, small wins can motivate and drive longer-term goals for your organization. The Great Resignation—and COVID by extension—taught many employees that life meant so much more. That the daily grind working in offices with long commutes, stress, lack of rest or relaxation, and the hustle of strenuous work weeks while normal was not conducive to happiness and mental well-being.
But this shift can be used as a blueprint for better employee experience!
Companies who work on being human-centric in ideals, strategies, and decision-making can improve greatly their chances of stemming mass exodus. Post-covid employee experience is now the new golden standard, and it looks at taking a more comprehensive and holistic view of experiences.
How can you be more holistic and how does it help?
- Think beyond probationary periods – Your employees are more important than the first 30, 60, or 90 days of employment, and yet many companies stop professional development and training after these dates. Normalize career growth, evaluations, employee 360 reports, and feedback loops to keep learning and advancement in the scope of your employees. While doing this, you’re also keeping your strategies and Key Performance Indicators—KPIs—fresh as you go.
- Communication is key – Talk to your employees about what they need, want, desire, and what their ambitions may be. Learn your people like you want them to learn your company. With transparent and open communication, you are engaging with your employees and creating an environment of consistency, openness, and inclusion—aspects employees’ desire.
- Employee-centric Corporate Culture – It may seem like the best idea is to center your company culture around the company’s values, vision, and strategies, but this is only half the battle. Integrating employee experience into the fabric of company culture ensures the company is as focused on their employees’ happiness as their own. It creates a bond to grow engagement, which has an effect on employee satisfaction and experience. As these rates increase, so to can employee retention numbers and customer experiences.
- Life and work-balance Erasure – Should your employees have to ask for more work-life balance? No, they shouldn’t. When built directly into work environments or expectations, it becomes something standard instead of something to be sought after. Examples of this could be:
- Flex hours
- Unlimited PTO
- Work-from-home or hybrid offerings
- Expanded benefits to include mental health and free resources
- Altered work hour schedules
Rise of Human Experience
Human Experience is a viewpoint that blends aspects of customer experience with employee experience, important in a post-COVID world. Instead of viewing them as separate entities entirely, companies can connect metrics and measurements of both to view a more comprehensive experience. Employees are customers—or potential ones—and as such, so too can customers become employees. With this view, it refocuses employee experiences in direct answer to the needs stemming The Great Resignation.
Ways you can use CX strategies within EX:
- Employee Journey Mapping – Like in customer experience, companies can work on mapping journeys for positions within the company overall, building in professional development and growth from the outset. They can then alter these journeys through personalization when an employee fills that role.
- Monitoring metrics – connect goals, milestones, and trajectories with metric directly linked to KPIs. Think employee net promoter score (eNPS), employee experience (EX), employee satisfaction (ESAT), and employee engagement (EE), for example, as they can correlate with operational success as well as customer success with your organization.
- View of employees – view your employees with the importance you view your customers. You cannot survive without either, and just as you court customer loyalty for more profitable relationships, so to can employee relations boost revenue, growth, and expansion.
Remote and Hybrid Work
One of the lasting effects of COVID was the desire to work from home or have the flexibility to. According to Gallup, nearly half of full-time working Americans—45%—are still working remotely. White collar workers have even higher percentage, coming in at 70%. After the shutdown, many leaders were surprised to find employees still wanted to work remotely. The Pandemic exposed an internal need for conducive work environments and flexibility.
The office and all it entailed wasn’t as attractive as some leadership believed.
It was agile leadership who switched to maintaining remote or hybrid options who won out against competitors. Record job openings only further highlight how living is more important, and work can no longer be focused on only paying bills. Organizations who shift better with their employees retain talent better.
Remote work is not the only fix, but it does show how views of work’s place have vastly changed.
Act on Meaningful Feedback
Closing the loop between you and your employees is more important than ever before. Simply hearing them is not enough. Active, empathetic listening pair with actions on a consistent basis is the wining combination. Employees not only want to know they are heard but that their input is valued.
Regularly checking in with your employees, and not only attaching it to their performance, creates a culture of partnership.
Ways to gain meaningful feedback to inspire data-driven action:
- Employee 360 Review [LN1] [SP2] – not to be confused with an employee evaluation, the 360-degree review is a way for all employees to gain feedback from peers, subordinates, and managers to assist employee self-evaluation.
- Pulse checks – a powerful anonymous survey tool. Pulse checks are in between annual reviews and keep the feedback coming for HR initiatives, but it can also inform business strategies that are employee-focused as well.
- Surveys – From satisfaction to engagement, the best thing you can do is ask your employees. Working from assumptions can lead you down costly mistakes. By asking directly you can get their true opinions—think of using anonymity to influence candid responses.
The biggest takeaway from this is: employee experiences is an important part of operational success. The evolution of its importance and what it means cannot be discounted. Doing so can led to higher employee turnover rates and you won’t retain your best talent. As employee experience continues to change, the forward-thinking companies with innovative leadership will make it to the top.
[LN1]Would it be okay to tag our template here?
Yes, we can [SP2]
Khalil ur Rehman is a proud born and raised in Abbottabad. Khalil has worked as a journalist for nearly a decade having contributed to several large publications including the Yahoo News and The Verge. As a journalist for The Hear Up, Khalil covers climate and science news. [email protected]