Empathy – the Skills Accountants Must Have in Today’s Business World


Accounting has long been considered a back-office role. The perception was always that accountants were better with numbers than with people, so the less interaction, the better. But this has never really been the case, and it’s certainly not the case in the 21st century. What are the important skills that today’s accountants need to bring to the table? Here are just a few things to consider and why empathy may be at the top of the list.

Not all hard skills.

Accountants have to bring a specific number of hard skills to the table. They need to know how to do receivables, payables, and ledgers, among other things. They need to be able to work with numbers and concepts surrounding financials. However, it’s also imperative that companies look at soft skills as well, so candidates will do well to demonstrate these in the interview.

Relationship building.

Today’s accountants need to be able to form relationships with a variety of people. They’ll have to interact with customers, vendors, clients, C-level executives, coworkers and a wide variety of other people. It’s important that you, as an accounting candidate, present your ability to communicate with people at all levels.

Personal interaction.

You will also need to demonstrate that you have positive personal interactions with the people around you. While relationship building is important, it’s also essential that you’re able to interact with people of all levels for any reason, even if it is unrelated to your specific accounting tasks. Communication skills encompass face-to-face interaction, emails, texts, phone calls, and more.

Empathy for others.

Lastly, empathy may be one of the most important things you can bring to the table. In a world where people seem to avoid seeing situations from other perspectives, it can only help you provide better service if you can step into someone else’s shoes. It will give you an opportunity to be kind when necessary and to help someone solve a problem when they feel it may be hopeless.

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