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Communications Skills More Important, But Few Firms Provide Training

August 22 2006 - A recent survey of chief financial officers (CFOs) shows communication skills are increasingly important for accounting and finance professionals. Sixty-seven per cent of CFOs surveyed said that verbal, written and interpersonal skills are more valuable for finance staff than 5 years ago. However, fewer than half (44 per cent) said their organizations provided formal training for these skills.

The survey was conducted for Accountemps, the specialist staffing service, and included responses from over 270 CFOs from a stratified random sample of organizations in Canada with more than 20 employees.

When asked, "Compared to five years ago, do you think verbal, written and interpersonal skills have become more or less important for accounting and finance professionals?" CFOs responded:

  • Much more important (27 per cent)
  • Somewhat more important (40 per cent)
  • No change (27 per cent)
  • Somewhat less important (3 per cent)
  • Much less important (0 per cent)
  • Don't know (3 per cent)

They were also asked, "Does your company offer formal communication skills training for your staff?" 44 per cent said 'Yes' and 56 per cent said their company did not.

"Enhanced reporting standards and increased cross-departmental collaboration have led to greater visibility and a more prominent role for accounting and finance professionals," said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps and author of Managing Your Career For Dummies(R) (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.). "When hiring for management positions, employers look for candidates who can build rapport with colleagues, resolve conflicts and develop consensus among team members."

"Employees with an eye toward advancement shouldn't wait for their companies to provide soft-skills training," Messmer said. "Identifying a mentor, taking courses in business writing and public speaking, and volunteering for team leadership roles are excellent ways to become a more effective communicator."

Accountemps has more than 330 offices throughout North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. .

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