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Accountants’ soft skills gap costs them thousands of pounds

A LACK OF FOCUS on ‘soft skills’ is costing the accounting profession half a billion pounds a year.

An ability to shine in communication, empathy and teamwork is costing accountants an average £4,700 a year – the amount they feel they’d be able to earn extra with those skills in place, according to a survey of nearly 200 accountants by Marks Sattin.

Less than half (46%) felt soft skills received the emphasis needed during their training, while two-thirds believe they could put nearly £5,000 on their wages is soft skills were emphasised.

But progress is being made. Four in five (83%) believe the situation has improved in the past ten years, while 55% have seen improvement more recently (last five years).

Dave Way, managing director at Marks Sattin, said: “Being a good accountant and a ‘numbers person’ is now taken as read. The A-players of the accountancy world also need to be outstanding communicators and proactive in driving relationships.

“This is reflected in the policies of the Big Four accountancy firms, which have all made significant strides in 2015 toward shifting the focus of recruitment towards interpersonal skills – as well as providing enrichment programmes for employees which focus on developing these.”

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