Soft skills need more focus, says RSM
Communication, management and leadership skills are vital for all accountants and should be taught alongside technical skills when training young practitioners, says RSM.Reflecting on the start of his own career, RSM national chairman Kim Hutchinson said his training was too technically focused and the value of soft skills was under-emphasised.
“When I started in the industry the focus was very much on the technical skills acquired throughout university and in training,” he said.
“Unfortunately, the communication, management and leadership skills that are equally as important in helping you become a trusted adviser were not a major focus. But those skills can help accountants have long, successful careers.”
Mr Hutchinson also said the value of lessons learnt through experience and life skills should not be underestimated.
“I was fortunate enough in our firm to be given responsibility at the outset to help enhance those skills. I was encouraged to go out and build relationships with clients, which helped me take on the role of trusted adviser.
“As the industry becomes more digitised, and much of the technical aspects of accounting can be done with software and systems, becoming a trusted adviser and adding value to clients’ businesses is more important than ever.
“I believe there should be just as much emphasis on skills that help accountants become trusted advisers as there is on technical skills required to enter the profession,” Mr Hutchinson concluded.