Accountancy Professionals: Hard Skills vs Soft Skills03 May, 20231-2 minutes
In this blog, you will learn:
- Why hard and soft skills matter to employers.
- Examples of hard skills.
- Examples of soft skills.
The skills you include on your CV can be broken down into two categories - hard and soft skills.
Hard skills are technical abilities that are needed in order to successfully perform a particular task, for example, working with a particular accounting software to handle and manage calculations.
Hard skills are generally developed through studying or training and can often be measured.
Soft skills, however, are usually natural abilities that can be strengthened over time. For example, there are a lot of ‘moving parts’ when working in accounting and the ability to easily manage these parts is a great soft skill to have.
Why does it matter?
Hard skills are important to employers as they need to know that you can carry out the job in hand. Hard skills are teachable and measurable.
However, soft skills are equally as important as they need to know that you can juggle your workload well, fit well into their existing team, pay close attention to detail and show integrity at all times.
You could be great at your job but if you can’t be trusted with a client's sensitive financial information, this would be a big problem for your employer.
It is vital to include a mix of both hard and soft skills on your CV to show the hiring manager that you have all the skills it takes to be a great employee and do the job well.
Examples of hard skills
- Degree in accounting, business or finance. An employer will want to see if you have included an ACCA or CGMA qualification on your cv and to see if you are knowledgeable in your field.
- Understanding basic and complex accounting principles.
- Proficiency and technical knowledge in accounting softwares and ERP programs.
- Business knowledge and acumen. An employer will be looking to see if you understand how the business operates and generates revenue. They will also be looking to see if you understand how the financial department plays a crucial role within this matrix.
- Mathematical comprehension and numerical skills. Due to the nature of the industry, it's a given that you should be passionate about maths and numbers.
- The ability to analyse and reflect on your own work in the wider consequence of financial decisions. Human error or a misjudgement of a situation will naturally occur in the workplace but an employer will be looking to see if you can recognise your accountability to ensure that future mistakes are averted.
- Proficiency in IT. Due to the nature of the industry, you will be required to work from a computer and in some workplaces, from home. An employer will be looking to see that you are able to do so and fix any basic IT issues which occur.
- Planning and implementing accounting controls.
- Preparing and interpreting financial statements.
- Data analysis. An employer will be looking to see that you can see beyond the numbers and interpret what the picture of the business is based on the figures presented.
- Knowledge of regulatory standards. An employer will be looking to see if you are aware and keeping up with the latest practices and standards.
Examples of soft skills
- Great communication skills to ensure that complex financial terminology or processes can be explained to business owners and stakeholders.
- Listening and empathy. This is particularly important for managers, HR and business owners as employees will turn to them first if they have any issues within the workplace.
- Great customer service skills. An employer will be looking to see that you are a great representative of their brand and not do anything which could jeopardise their reputation.
- Working well as part of a team. This will include working alongside colleagues in the accountancy team as well as colleagues in other departments. An employer will be keen to ensure all colleagues can work together in harmony.
- Problem solving skills. As well as the ability to recognise an error, an employer will be looking to see if you can logically find a solution or workaround.
- A methodical approach to work. An employer will be looking to see that you can tackle tasks in the quickest and easiest route to ensure that productivity remains high.
- Strong time management. Accountancy professionals work to strict deadlines and an employer would want to ensure that employees will meet them.
- Integrity. Employers will look for honesty in all their employees but when working with money or sensitive financial information, it will be even more important.
- An eye for detail. Accountancy professionals will work with large volumes of data and an employer will want to ensure that all data is accurate and up to date.
- Resilience and adaptability. While working in this industry, there can be a lot of moving parts and an employer will be looking to see that you can keep up with them.
- Trustworthy. As accountancy professionals work with private data and information, an employer would want to ensure that it is kept confidential.
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