CPAs: which soft skills should you be focusing on?

If, at some point in the past, technical abilities were enough to land you a dream job or promotion, that is definitely no longer the case. In an economy that’s powered by innovation, skills like collaboration, communication, and adaptability are becoming essential selection criteria. So if you've locked down your accounting career with a CPA designation, focusing on building your soft skills is the ideal next step.

Within each specialization, certain skills are more important than others. Here are six soft skills that all CPAs can use to stand out from the crowd and unlock their full potential!

CPA soft skills interpersonal skills

1. business acumen

CPAs are expected to play more strategic roles in many situations, so you will need to learn how to think strategically. It is essential to understand how the business world works. Stay up-to-date on management trends and industry news, and learn to identify opportunities.

2. leadership

No matter where you are on the corporate food chain, showing initiative will take you far. Being a leader means knowing how to guide others, create consensus, motivate your colleagues, and make sure your projects are moving forward.

3. communication

A good communicator isn’t just someone who can write and speak properly: above all, communicators have the ability to share their ideas as efficiently as possible, adapting to both their audience and the situation at hand. You need to be able to tell the story behind the numbers you are presenting. Learn to effectively disseminate information and create links between data points to make them more accessible to others.

4. how to approach clients

Adopting a client approach means handling each request with a genuine intent to help, even internally. Maintaining strong relationships with your clients and coworkers requires continuous effort. Learn to inspire confidence and diffuse tense situations with a proactive attitude. You should also know when to delegate, and when to redirect people to the proper resources.

5. conflict resolution

Alongside communication and client approach comes a third key competency: knowing how to react to unexpected events. Technical issues, disagreements, and changing plans shouldn’t stop you dead in your tracks. Develop your critical thinking to be able to analyze any situation and make the best possible decisions. To get there, flex your intellectual curiosity: always ask yourself reflective questions.

6. planning and organization

These days, multitasking is an in-demand skill for many companies. In time, everyone learns that taking on too many tasks at once hurts the quality of their work, so you should train yourself to optimize your scheduling instead. Anticipate delays, budget a set amount of time for each task, and follow your progress closely using a project management tool. If your workplace hasn’t implemented a standard methodology, create your own and invite your colleagues to join in (sharing your good ideas means proving yourself as a leader!). 

Bonus: confidence! In your abilities, your knowledge, and your capacity to learn. Being confident puts you in the right state of mind to develop each one of the skills mentioned above.

 

If you’ve mastered these soft skills but are not sure how to showcase them during an interview, contact your local Randstad branch! Our recruiters know the CPA world like the back of their hand.