Soft skills are the qualitative measures of a candidate that an employer searches for in order to ensure a good culture fit and a solid work performance in the future. They’re often the most difficult skills to teach, and are even more difficult to test for during an interview or identify on a resume. At VIP, when we search for the right candidate to meet our clients’ needs, we take the time to listen to each candidate and identify the strongest individuals that exemplify the soft skills necessary to succeed at the job. As a trusted partner to many employers, we’ve pinpointed the top soft skills for finance and accounting professionals, and what each entails.
Finance and accounting professionals should have strong written and oral communication skills. Whether you’re on a call or writing an email, you’ll want to communicate clearly and concisely. You’ll also need to be able to explain your message in an easily digestible manner – don’t use overly complicated language with people outside your department if they are unable to understand. If you’re a new hire, the communication skill is especially necessary – an employer will want you to raise your voice when questions or concerns arise.
To highlight your communication skills, ensure your resume is free of any grammar and spelling errors or inconsistencies. This is the first form of communication you’ll have with a hiring manager, so make it count! Respond quickly to emails about the position you’re applying for, and use professional but approachable language when doing so. When on the phone for an interview, be aware of the “ums” “uhs” and “likes” in your sentences. Avoid run-on answers to questions, and spend time listening to the interviewer. After all, communication is a two-way street.
Accounting and finance professionals should be flexible and adaptable, and should be able to make decisions even in situations where they don’t have all the information. Recruiters and hiring managers seek candidates that take initiative and ownership of tasks, and support others to accomplish larger goals.
To highlight your leadership skills, include any leadership roles you’ve had on your resume and bring them up when appropriate during an interview. Use action and ownership words like “directed” “established” and “coordinated” on your resume to highlight the role you had in your position or on specific projects. Just be careful to remain humble while highlighting your leadership skills. Hiring managers are looking for team players, after all.
The ability to collect data and make sense of it is a crucial aspect of many accounting and finance roles. A candidate with strong analytical skills will easily digest spreadsheets of data and be able to communicate the takeaways to any affected colleagues. Highly analytical people look for trends and assist in planning for the future. To highlight your analytical skills, include statistics on your resume, or give examples of times you’ve had to approach a project with an analytical mindset.
Accounting and finance professionals must be able to navigate software, which often varies from industry to industry. Whether a company uses QuickBooks, Yardi, SAP, or another software, they’ll expect that a new hire is willing and able to dive in and learn the ins and outs of it. To highlight your technology navigation skills, add any software certifications you have to your resume and communicate your level of expertise with your interviewer.
Interested in strengthening these skills? There is a myriad of resources available online for this kind of professional development. Visit software YouTube pages for step by step how-to videos and look up terminology for software providers to help ease the learning curve.
If you’re seeking a position in accounting and finance and want to learn more about how to land your perfect role, listen to the We Are VIP Podcast and view our latest job openings. We’d love to help you take the next step in your career.