Building Your Communication Skills

Accountants are taking an increasingly visible role within their organizations, working on cross-departmental projects from strategic planning to information technology initiatives. They are also sending and presenting data to a number of diverse audiences. As a result, employers look for accounting professionals who not only possess financial expertise but also strong communication skills.

Following are a few skill sets critical to accountants and their career growth:

Interpersonal — As you work with individuals from different areas of your company, you'll be required to address diverse business issues. You'll also need to work well within a team, sharing the workload while completing assignments successfully on deadline.

Writing — Accounting professionals write myriad types of communication, including financial reports, inter-department memos, strategic plans and proposals. Before drafting a document, organize your thoughts and try to be concise as you write. Use language that the recipients will understand and avoid jargon with which they may not be familiar. Be sure to proofread every document you create; don't simply rely on spell check. If written poorly, your messages may lose credibility or be dismissed altogether.

Verbal — Just as you may be asked to write on a variety of topics, you may be asked to speak on a number of subjects as well. You must be able to convey complex information in terms that everyone can understand. The first step is to familiarize yourself with the topic. You'll also need to learn about your audience, including their purpose for being there, their concerns, time constraints and attitudes, and tailor your speech as appropriate. The more prepared and knowledgeable you are about the participants, the more confident you'll be and the greater the impact your message will carry.

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