Skills beyond technical knowledge are critical when hiring experienced accounting professionals, according to a new study by Grant Thornton.

The study found that 55 percent of the CFOs surveyed by the firm thought that the lack of employees with the necessary “soft skills” such as communication, critical thinking and problem-solving abilities was the most significant challenge in recruiting seasoned accounting professionals. Workload and lifestyle were rated as the second most significant obstacles in hiring senior finance employees by 50 percent of the respondents, followed by the dearth in technical skills among experienced accounting staffers.

“Because of rapidly changing rules and regulations in the accounting industry, we would have expected lack of talent with technical accounting skills to be the primary challenge for CFOs,” said Gina Kim, a director in the public policy and external affairs group at Grant Thornton LLP. “As a result, we were surprised to see soft-skills deficiency to be a more pressing issue. CFOs are really looking for people with soft skills, like critical thinking and problem-solving, to understand the implications of shifting accounting standards.”  

The study found that 62 percent of public company CFOs thought the lack of “soft skills” was the biggest recruitment challenge involving accounting talent, compared with 44 percent of CFOs at privately held businesses. In contrast, 56 percent of private company finance executives said that increased workload has made accounting and corporate finance careers less attractive, compared with 46 percent of public company CFOs.

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Accounting Today content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access