People working in accounting jobs are often in troubled positions. They usually want to climb corporate ladders and can only do so based on their technical prowess, but many lack the soft skills that are necessary for success at an executive level. The two traits that are commonly questioned are the abilities to persuade and influence audiences. Fortunately, these are skills that can be developed and improved.
The importance of soft skills in accounting jobs
The whole idea of achieving results in the workplace is not just about keeping tabs on the transactions taking place and using performance metrics to monitor the budget. Accountants need to be increasingly aware of their soft skills. They might need to collaborate with budget managers in order to take control of financial performance or might have to deal with lower-level staff in order to get them to change financial behaviours that are ultimately impacting the performance of the business. It is these workplace issues that are usually within an accountant's control and are ultimately what they are usually responsible for according to their professional duties. With so much on the line, it is clear to see why if these two skills are not up to scratch, they will not be considered for promotions to higher levels.
How to develop the ability to persuade and influence people
Firstly, accountants need to be clear what it is that they want. In any situation that requires persuasion, clear end objectives must be stated from the very beginning and any time spent doing this will be well-invested. However, a firm message usually will not cut it for the most part. When this is the case, financial and accounting professionals will need to take further steps in their actions.
People who are effective at the art of persuasion will not just see things from their own perspective. They will be able to empathise with other parties and will seek to understand why other members of staff are thinking the way they do. Stepping into their world as opposed to just dictating from your own can gain insight into how they might react and any objections you might face as a result of your own actions. This is quite easily done by just role-playing the situation and drawing conclusions before approaching the troubled party. This will, of course, require quite a bit of advance planning. Once all of the boundaries are considered, accounting professionals are in a position to open the dialogue.
Persuasion is often incorrectly thought of as a dictating art. However, nothing could be further from the truth. It requires professionals to first understand the situation and perspective of the other person. There are too many times where an accountant will be too focused on getting their own point across and it will hinder their listening abilities. Listening should always be placed in a position of importance during this sort of interaction.
Dialogues and negotiations will always be best approached if they are sought from a win-win perspective. When listening and agreeable conversion are the main points of a conversation, then they will go so much further than simply conflicting views and opinions that ultimately get nowhere. It is always important to have a clear vision of what it is you hope to achieve from this sort of an exchange, but you must also be open to other ideas. When everyone works towards one agreeable solution, everyone leaves the dialogue satisfied with the outcome rather than bitter that things were not going their own way.