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A recent report by’ Professional Accountants – The Future: Drivers of change and future skills’ (ACCA) identifies the main drivers for change that will have the most impact on the profession: a collection of technical knowledge, skills and abilities, combined with interpersonal  behaviours and qualities.

Each Accountants professional quotients (PQ) reflects their competency and skill cross seven constituent areas:

  1. Technical skills and ethics (TEQ) – The skills and abilities to perform activities consistently to a defined standard while maintaining the highest standards of integrity, independence and scepticism.
  2. Intelligence (IQ) – The ability to acquire and use knowledge: thinking, reasoning and solving problems.
  3. Creative (CQ): – The ability to use existing knowledge in a new situation, to make connections, explore potential outcomes, and generate new ideas.
  4. Digital (DQ) – The awareness and application of existing and emerging digital technologies, capabilities, practices and strategies.
  5. Emotional intelligence (EQ) – The ability to identify your own emotions and those of others, harness and apply them to tasks, and regulate and manage them.
  6. Vision (VQ) – The ability to anticipate future trends accurately by extrapolating existing trends and facts and filling the gaps by thinking innovatively.
  7. Experience (XQ) – The ability and skills to understand customer expectations, meet desired outcomes and create value.

It’s clear that technical skills are the foundation to success as an accountant, however we ignore non-technical skills at our peril.  As traditional accounting work becomes automated (and commoditised), the next generation of accountants will need to develop their analytical and communication skills. Focus on non-technical training is essential for accountants who want to succeed and accounting firms that want to grow.

Young accountants in public practice need to have a clear sense of what skills they need to develop to be in a position to add value in the years ahead. Core areas of focus should include:

Workflow Management:

  1. Time Management: Learn to prioritise tasks and allocate time effectively to meet deadlines.
  2. Planning: Develop skills to create detailed work plans, set milestones, and track progress.
  3. Task Delegation: Understand how to delegate tasks appropriately within the team, considering individual strengths and workloads.
  4. Problem Solving: Hone problem-solving abilities to address unexpected issues in the workflow promptly.
  5. Organisation: Use tools such as task management software or project management systems to keep track of tasks and projects.
  6. Adaptability: Be open to adjusting plans when circumstances change and learn to manage ambiguity.

Client Relationship Management:

  1. Communication Skills: Develop effective communication skills to clearly convey financial information to clients, both verbally and in writing.
  2. Active Listening: Learn to actively listen to client concerns, questions, and feedback to provide better solutions.
  3. Empathy: Cultivate empathy to understand clients’ perspectives and build stronger relationships.
  4. Conflict Resolution: Develop techniques for managing conflicts or disagreements professionally and constructively.
  5. Client Education: Assist clients in understanding complex financial concepts by explaining them in simple terms.
  6. Anticipate Needs: Learn to anticipate client needs and offer value-added services based on their industry and financial situation.

Team Interaction:

  1. Collaboration: Work effectively within a team by sharing ideas, providing assistance, and contributing to a positive team culture.
  2. Effective Communication: Communicate clearly and respectfully with team members, superiors, and subordinates.
  3. Feedback Reception: Be open to receiving feedback from colleagues and supervisors, using it as a tool for personal growth.
  4. Conflict Management: Develop skills to address conflicts within the team in a constructive and respectful manner.
  5. Leadership Skills: Even as a junior member, exhibit leadership qualities such as initiative, accountability, and willingness to help.
  6. Cross-functional Understanding: Learn about the roles and responsibilities of different team members to enhance collaboration and efficiency.

General Skill Development:

  1. Networking: Engage in professional networking to expand your contacts within the industry.
  2. Continuous Learning: Stay updated on industry trends, regulations, and best practices through workshops, seminars, and online courses.
  3. Mentorship: Seek out mentors within the organisation who can provide guidance and share their experiences.
  4. Self-awareness: Reflect on your strengths and areas for improvement, and actively work on personal development.
  5. Stress Management: Learn techniques to manage stress and maintain work-life balance.
  6. Cultural Sensitivity: Develop an understanding of cultural differences, especially if working with clients or colleagues from diverse backgrounds.

Remember, developing non-technical skills is an ongoing process that requires dedication and self-awareness. It’s essential to seek opportunities to practice and improve these skills in real-world situations

How can you develop your graduate accountants

The Graduate Accountant Induction eLearning course is designed to provide new accountants and trainees with a practical understanding of the public practice environment.

A key focus will be on a forward thinking approach to workflow so that jobs are completed in a timely and effective matter. The course is based on over 20 years’ experience working with accountants to improve their professional skills.

We’ll show your young accountants how to:

  • Really take control of their jobs and their workflow
  • Manage team and client relationships proactively
  • Develop core skills of effective communication
  • Take control of personal time and work tasks
  • Engage proactively in professional development

This course is based on over 20 years’ experience working with accountants to improve their professional skills.

CLICK HERE for further information on the Graduate Accountant eLearning Course.