[IMGCAP(1)]That’s right, your staff has no value. Unless ...

You know this to be true. It has been true for decades. Seasoned professionals talk about it practically all the time. But it seems more important today than ever. More important because of the complex world that we are all operating in. Because of challenges that are unique to the time we live in. Maybe it’s because of this VUCA world we all try to make sense of. You know VUCA … a “buzz acronym” in my judgment. But the reality is that we are facing unprecedented complexity and volatility.

So … unless what?

Unless they (and you) have a strong command of the “core competencies.” You know, those vital skills that all CPAs should have. Yes, the “soft skills.” Actually, I hate that label. Soft skills. Are you kidding me? Soft? I wrote a blog about it three years ago: Why Are the Soft Skills So Hard?

A couple years later (last November), another blog appeared on SmartBlog on Leadership: Let’s face it. Soft skills are hard. Very similar message and an admonition: “It’s time that we face it. ‘Soft’ skills can’t be learned in a once-a-year breakout session. They deserve attention, investment, energy and focus repeatedly and over time.”

Here is the deal. No one cares how good your command of technical skills is unless …

•  you have outstanding communication skills, and …
•  your leadership skills combined with those communication skills allow you and your colleagues to collaborate in the most effective manner, and …
•  you and your staff possess the best critical thinking and analytical skills in order to make the most reasonable and effective decisions.

So, you see, without the “soft skills,” you have no value.

Another recent blog entitled CFOs-In-Waiting: What Got You Here Won't Get You There perhaps says it best. “The ability to crank through financial statements and reporting are table stakes.”

So make sure that you and your entire professional staff invest in tools, engage in learning and commit to development of those vital skills—core competencies—to ensure that you have value and maintain relevance to clients, employers and colleagues.

Gary M. Bolinger, CAE, is president and CEO of the Indiana CPA Society and its CPA Center of Excellence.

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