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7½ soft skills to success

Angus Farr details the 7½ soft skills all accountants need in order to succeed and practical examples to follow.

My favourite management model, the Peter principle, may not have ever been referenced in a Finance & Management article before now, but I’m quite sure you’re familiar with it – if not in name, then certainly in evidence. It may be nearly 50 years since Laurence J Peter’s book of the same name, but the principle still rings true today. Put simply, it suggests we all rise to a level of incompetence and then stay there!

For accountants, like many professionals, our technical prowess will only take us so far in our careers and in business. What really counts are our non-technical skills – our ability to manage ourselves, our teams, our clients and stakeholders. If we’re deficient in these, we’ll struggle and it’s unlikely we’ll progress any further.

In my work I see this from both sides – the prevention and the cure. Most of the time I’m training supervisors or new line managers precisely to develop these all-important skills just as they’re beginning to need them. Occasionally I coach individuals who have effectively hit their level of incompetence, so the focus here is retro-fitting some of these same skills – better late than never.

This is an extract from the Finance & Management Magazine, Issue 251, February 2017.

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Full article is available to Finance and Management Faculty members and subscribers of Faculties Online. 

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Evening event 

Angus Farr will be hosting a one-hour workshop, 7½ steps that every FD must take to succeed, on March 22 at Chartered Accountants' Hall.