Accountants Need to Know IT, Say CFOs

The accounting profession is one of many professions dramatically altered by the technology revolution. A tradition of paper and pencil is now replaced by a highly competitive accounting software industry, and a new technical language called XBRL will soon transform financial reporting. So it should come as no surprise that chief financial officers expect accounting job candidates to have technical expertise in addition to a gift for numbers.

This was the finding of a recent survey conducted Robert Half Finance & Accounting in which CFOs said that they look for professionals who have information technology proficiency.

“To improve efficiencies, organizations are automating many of their accounting functions or upgrading their financial information systems,” said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International Inc. “As a result, recent accounting graduates with a demonstrated aptitude for technology-related projects are at an advantage in a competitive market.”

CFOs were asked, “Other than traditional accounting knowledge, which one of the following skills is most in demand for accounting and finance professionals today?” Their responses:

Information Technology 34%
General Business Knowledge 23%
Communication Skills 17%
Customer Service Orientation 11%
Leadership Abilities 9%

Messmer pointed out that business acumen remains critical: “Increasingly, accounting professionals provide guidance on the financial impact of decisions ranging from information technology investments to corporate governance issues. This requires an understanding of broader business concerns as well as traditional finance and accounting skills.”

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