6 Simply Human Skills for an Automated World
With the rise of automation, opportunities for corporate accounting are shifting. As many businesses struggle to find candidates with the skill set they need to meet new requirements, those who add certain soft skills on their resume will be better equipped to seize new opportunities.
“Very much at the fore are anxieties around the new reality of automation and artificial intelligence, and what this means for the roles and skills required in the workplace,” said a recent article from PricewaterhouseCoopers. “But this has only driven demand for skills in other areas: those that can build, monitor and repair such technologies, or the very human skills of creativity, leadership and empathy.”
What Skills Do You Need to be a CFO?
According to Monster.com, a good CFO is experienced in the following:
- Financial planning and strategy
- Managing profitability
- Strategic planning and vision
- Quality management
- Promotion of process improvement
- Corporate finance
- Budget development
However, for CFOs and corporate accounting professionals in general, technical skills are not as valued as they used to be.
The skills that are increasingly valued by CEOs are those that machines can't perform. In this post we are exploring some of the top soft skills to put on a resume for accounting. According to SoftSkillsforAccoutnants.com these include:
- Ability to think at a strategic level
- Ability to lead and inspire others
- Ability to influence, persuade and negotiate
- Ability to have high levels of political awareness
“If you develop your leadership skills then you can become the Strategic Partner that your CEO is looking for – a trusted adviser and thinking partner,” said SoftSkills.
6 Truly Human Soft Skills for a Digital Workforce
In the bullet list above we mentioned some of the leadership capabilities corporate accountants need to succeed. Those abilities are from a company perspective--let's break those down for a closer look.
Every other skill mentioned below depends on good communication. Communication skills are essential to get your message across effectively whether for problem solving, strategy or leadership tasks.
2. Problem Solving
More than 60% of CEOs say they have seen a lack of problem-solving skills in the workforce, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey. They also said it was the most important soft skill they look for on a resume. Problem solving often involves creative, lateral thinking to work out problems that have no obvious right answers.
Good management requires a lot of other skills like communication, problem solving and emotional intelligence. Almost two-thirds of leaders told PwC they find emotional intelligence a valued skill that is hard to find. Managing people to improve company performance requires emotional intelligence to understand your teams strengths, weaknesses, challenges, emotional soft spots and to know what tools fit their needs to succeed.
4. Strategic Thinking
About 77% of business leaders say innovation and creative thinking are difficult skills to find in a job candidate. Strategic thinkers tend to be able to see the big picture, and create or influence a long-term plan and vision for the company.
Three-quarters of CEOs struggle to recruit people with leadership skills. The skills accountants need to become good leaders include the ability to run larger teams, setting direction and pace, and inspiring others to drive success.
Again this requires many of the skills we've already discussed. Good influencers can quickly identify problems, find solutions and persuade others that their solution is the right way to proceed. Influencers are also adept at navigating office politics.
Soft Skills Become More Valuable with Automation
Automation and artificial intelligence are here. While the need is shrinking for manual tasks like data entry, those things machines can't do are more important. Soft skills are more than just about looking good on a resume--it's about keeping the human side alive in a business as machines take on greater workloads.
If you are looking for ways to streamline your accounting department so you can focus on your soft-skill strategy, accounts payable is a good place to start.
If you are using old AP automation, clunky home-grown workflows or have no automation at all, you are likely wasting precious hours processing invoices and closing the books each month. Adopting new AP automation can be a quick win to save countless hours and free up your accounting team to focus on strategy.