A new survey finds that, as finance professionals take on more roles and responsibility, they also need to polish up their communication and relationship-building skills.
Last week, we posted a blog that dealt with the changing role of finance due to new complexities in the business environment. That blog was based on an article in Accounting Today that discussed a new survey by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) which indicated that these increasing complexities were causing an increase in role responsibility. In that same issue, finance professionals also talked about the new critical skills necessary to succeed. Among those, is a need for excellent communication skills.
That point is really valid for almost any position in the new fast-evolving global economy. As silos disappear and roles mix and converge, managers and executives are dealing with different levels of people performing different functions within the enterprise. That makes communication more important than ever and makes it imperative that the manager or executive speaks in a way that the team, whatever function they perform, understands.
Accounting Today cited a number of professionals on this topic. According to Marc Valentin, CPA CGMA, vice president of finance for MISCOR Group, an Ohio-based industrial services and rail services manufacturer, “It’s important to be able to try not to speak over people’s heads. It’s speaking at the same level…I try not to use all my technical jargon when I’m talking to other people. I try to break it down into laymen’s terms.”
That statement is true, but shouldn’t be construed to mean that it’s acceptable to talk down to people. Try to evaluate the level of competence of that individual or team and speak to that. That leads to another important skill for finance executives in this brave, new world: building relationships with everyone from customers to suppliers to C-suite executives to clerical staff. Building relationships builds trust and trust is essential if goals are to be met. And at the heart of building relationships is the ability to communicate effectively.
In a world where positions shift and responsibilities grow at an ever faster pace, especially in finance, these critical skills can make the difference between achieving a company’s goals or falling behind.
To read the full article, go to Accounting Today; Finance Team’s Role Expands beyond Accounting. Registration may be required.