1. Communication 2. Writing skills
/ memos 3. Critical / strategic thinking 4. Advanced Excel skills 5. Time management / organization 6. Prioritization 7. Collaboration In a May 26, 2015 strategy session facilitated by the MACPA and the BLI, the managing partners of 14 local, regional, and national CPA firms ranked what they believe are the most important skills for entry-level staff members.
The most critical non-technical skills
needed by young professionals: 1. Ethics 2. Communication 3. Customer service 4. Adaptability 5. Strategic thinking / execution 6. Process improvement 7. Leadership 8. Collaboration This is from a report produced by the American Productivity and Quality Center and the Institute of Management Accountants.
81 percent of those
polled say planning, budgeting and forecasting skills are critical. Only 30 percent of entry-level finance professionals possess those skills. 77 percent say leadership ability is a necessity, but only 14 percent say their employees have it. A May 19, 2015 article in The Wall Street Journal found huge gaps in the supply and demand of certain skills:
The top four skills
leaders must possess to succeed in a world defined by volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity: 1. Managing / introducing change 2. Building consensus / commitment 3. Inspiring others toward a future vision 4. Leading across generations The Conference Board’s Global Leadership Forecast 2014-15 examined the skills that will be most in demand going forward.
The top five skills
young professionals say they need to be successful: 1. Communication 2. Inspiring and motivating others 3. Strategic and critical thinking 4. Anticipating and serving evolving needs 5. Influencing and persuading others The MACPA’s Tom Hood facilitated a session at the 2015 AICPA E.D.G.E. Conference for young professionals. Here’s what attendees said:
The top four teachable
skills for young professionals: 1. Critical / strategic thinking 2. Time management 3. Writing skills / memos 4. Problem solving Then there’s this from “Top Ten Skills in New Hires,” a white paper produced by the Connecticut Society of CPAs:
Do you see what’s happening
here? Report after report finds the same thing: Young professionals need more ‘soft skills.’ The ‘soft skills’ that are most in need are largely the same from report to report: strategic and critical thinking, communication, leadership, anticipation.
56 percent of employees
were only somewhat prepared for their first accounting or finance job. 14 percent were not at all prepared. The most often-cited reason: Knowledge gained in the classroom didn’t translate to the job. Young professionals often say they are unprepared to meet the demands of today’s workplace. From the Robert Half Readiness Index: And yet …
“The environment in the early
CPA career is more demanding of those ‘soft skills,’ especially communication and business acumen. Some posit that in the future, ‘back office’ functions will be automated, which will require entry-level workers to do more customer- and client- facing work earlier in their careers. What does this mean as far as the skills they’ll need to do that work?” -- Tom Hood, CPA MACPA Executive Director
From more sources than ever.
Among them is the Business Learning Institute, whose thought leaders offer instruction in leadership, personal development, strategic thinking, communication, and scores of other competencies.
There’s also “The Anticipatory Organization:
Accounting and Finance Edition,”TM a revolutionary new learning system that teaches CPAs how to anticipate future trends and take advantage of the opportunities they offer. www.BLIonline.org/The-Anticipatory-Organization/