Director Fletcher George
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Emotional Intelligence in Modern Accountancy

9th Nov 2021
Director Fletcher George
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We are all human and experience a number of emotions in our daily lives. The ability to recognise, understand and harness the emotions of others and oneself positively and constructively is a sign of an individual with high Emotional Intelligence (EI).  

In today’s world of accountancy and finance, EI in the workforce is critical for both relationship management and successful communication. This translates to a motivated team; good staff retention and enhanced client relationships. 

Technology and Digitalisation

With the increased use of technology due to the growing digitalisation of accounting processes, accountants are now better placed to spend more time working in an advisory capacity to and on behalf of their clients. 

In addition to this, the rapid acceleration of remote working that businesses have been forced to adopt of late has highlighted that accountants need to be skilled at managing these relationships online.  Remote working has become an accepted norm for the long term, making those human interactions and interpersonal relationships even more critical.

By harnessing the use of the latest technology and at the same time accountants developing their EI, finance professionals can not only improve their client experience, but they can also improve their own wellbeing and promote a more harmonious and dynamic workplace.

EI and Leadership

EI has always been an important skill for strong leadership. Understanding others’ motivations and the ability to gauge a situation continue to be essential qualities of a good leader, however, in today’s environment,  finance leaders are now also required to manage these relationships remotely as well as in person. Successfully chairing a meeting online, for example, requires a new and developed skillset.  If you are looking to progress to a role with elements of leadership it is vital that you develop your EI skills to the best of your ability. 

Emotionally Intelligent Teams

It also recognised that an emotionally intelligent team will be a highly functioning one. EI team environments invite collaboration, positive feedback and an awareness of each other’s strengths and weaknesses. This translates to increased productivity and job satisfaction and is also beneficial for employee engagement. 

Skills Gap

At the end of 2019, a study by Michael Page found that there was a shortage of candidates citing emotional intelligence on their applications, despite this being a skill that over half of the employers stated that they were looking for.  They found that less than one per cent of candidates mentioned skills related to EI such as ‘empathy’ and ‘listening’ on their CV.

Once seen as a soft skill, Emotional Intelligence is now an essential skill within accountancy. Certainly, when applying for management roles within finance and accountancy, candidates should certainly take the time to develop if necessary and demonstrate their Emotional Intelligence skills in the same way that they would any other key skill. 

Accountancy practices and businesses are looking to recruit those candidates who are emotionally intelligent and can build and nurture strong relationships with clients and co-workers alike. Furthermore, they are looking for Finance and Accounting professionals who can utilise and fully embrace the changing landscape of technology.

Lisa Wintrip

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