Aida is a NINJA CPA blogger.
For this post, I would like to cover the work related topic. I am in staff position at big public corporation. One evening while preparing for REG section I started thinking if technical or soft skills are more important for the accounting profession. That is what I’d like to discuss below.
A lot of people come out from universities with master’s degrees and with very poor communication and presentation skills. At the workplace I often face the situations where the communication is a key for resolving an issue. Sometime the problem itself arises because of miscommunication.
Soft skills are not easy to quantify, however they facilitate the relationships, help people to become leaders. On the other hand, no matter how great communicator one is – the argument won’t have its weight if there is no technical point behind it. I believe its hard skills that define your competency level.
How does this relate to CPA exam? Its fair to say that CPA exam preparation develops both soft and hard skills. Soft skills are clearly presented in BEC section, particularly in written tasks, where the candidates have to demonstrate the ability to communicate their opinion to subordinates, auditors or directors.
And technical accounting skills will be needed in all four CPA exam sections: filing corporate/individual tax returns, complex financial accounting tasks, managerial calculations. I think CPA is the most comprehensive test for both technical and soft skills for accountants. That is why it gives greater advancement opportunities (as well as increased salary and bonus). So keep being motivated!
To summarize, in accounting profession the balance between soft and technical skills is very important. I believe that it is the technical skills that make you professional in a first place, and then soft skills help you to demonstrate those skills as well as succeed in a workplace.
Professional certification like CPA is a perfect example of demonstration of both hard and soft skills.