Finance with a human touch

There should be more to finance and accounting professionals than number-crunching skills. According to Robert Half International's latest Financial Directions Survey, 'soft skills' such as people management are at least as important as technical expertise.

by Robert Half International
Last Updated: 23 Jul 2013

Half of surveyed professionals reported that people management was the one skill that would make them more marketable. Similarly, employers listed management as well as communication and leadership skills as 'must have' to succeed. This was particularly true in America, where employers attach more importance to soft skills than their European counterparts.

"The role of the finance professional has changed. They are no longer seen as only processors and analysts of figures but have an important role in giving strategic advice," says Ian Graves, managing director for continental Europe at Robert Half International.

The study also recommended that graduates don't specialise too early in their careers and take advantage of mentoring programmes and training courses to hone their people skills.

"Historically, people have found themselves in leadership positions simply because of their outstanding technical ability," Graves says. "Today, it is no longer enough. While industry knowledge, experience and expertise is important, employers want to find the right mix of technical know-how and social awareness. This is now the number one priority."

Review by Emilie Filou

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