Strong leadership key to financial services success

“Accounting and finance no longer operates as a silo,” – Phil Sheridan, Robert Half UK

Strong leadership skills have been cited as the top attribute for success among finance professionals, according to new research carried out by Robert Half UK.
Sixty % of chief finance officers (CFOs) and financial directors (FDs) surveyed by the recruitment agency said this was the top contributor to success in the finance and accounting industries.
The study also highlighted the importance of being technically astute.
Successful finance leaders must be appropriately skilled and knowledgeable, according to the poll, which Robert Half UK says explains why nearly half (47%) of finance executives surveyed cited strong technical skills as being the second most important skill for success.
A third (33%) cited effective communication as the third key skill for a successful career while a competitive nature (32%), futuristic outlook (30%), strong interpersonal skills (17%) and risk taking (16%) follow behind.
The study also highlighted the synergies between the skills needed to be successful and the roles that finance and accounting professionals find challenging when working with other departmental colleagues.
The most common cross-departmental challenge identified was managing stress arising from crisis situations (42%), a situation where leadership and effective communication skills come into their own.
Prioritising conflicting deadlines throughout the company (26%), learning to interact with a variety of personalities (15%) and conveying financial information in non-financial terms (14%) were the other main challenges listed, solutions to all of which lend themselves well to the key skills for success outlined by the CFOs and FDs surveyed.
Phil Sheridan, managing director of Robert Half UK, said: “Accounting and finance no longer operates as a silo and has affirmed its position as a strategic partner to the business, encompassing more than the ability to crunch numbers. The importance for accounting and finance professionals to have exceptional soft skills as well as technical ability is a reflection of that. These professionals need the leadership skills and effective communication backed by technical ability to deliver actionable insight for the business.
“As we enter what is most commonly the busiest period for accounting and finance professionals with businesses preparing budgets for next year and preparations underway for year-end reporting, businesses looking to hire additional headcount should seek out candidates who display key leadership qualities and exceptional communication skills alongside strong technical ability to deliver added value.”

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