Leadership is key for success in finance

Stef Scott By Stef Scott, Senior Digital Editor, ICAS

25 September 2015

Accounting and finance professionals not only need exceptional technical ability to succeed, but also strong management and leadership skills, according to new research.

60% of CFOs and FDs surveyed by Robert Half UK said that leadership was the top attribute that contributes to the success of finance and accounting professionals, ahead of strong technical skills at 47%.

This shift in skillsets is a reflection of the fact that accounting and finance functions no longer operate as silos but as key strategic partners to the wider business. The ability to interpret data and crunch numbers is always important, but top finance talent encompasses much more than that.

The survey also raised the importance of other key attributes for finance professionals, including:

  • Effective communication skills - 33%.
  • A competitive nature - 32%.
  • A futuristic outlook - 30%.

The research also highlighted the link between the skills needed to be successful and the roles that finance and accounting professionals find challenging when working with colleagues across the business.

For example, 42% of CFOs and FDs said that the most common cross-departmental challenge they faced was managing stress arising from crisis situations. Other challenges include:

  • Prioritising conflicting deadlines throughout their organisation - 26%.
  • Interacting with different personalities - 15%.
  • Conveying financial information in non-financial terms - 14%.

Andrew Penker, Director of People at ICAS comments: "At ICAS we are committed to providing a range of great professional development opportunities for our members, to support them wherever they are working and at all levels of their careers. This survey highlights just how critical it is for finance professionals to develop strong skills in leadership and management. This is an area which we have recently improved by offering members access to CIMA Mastercourses. These courses are an ideal way of improving key skills like managing change, leading a team and leading with impact and authority."

Source: Robert Half UK


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