The power of effective communication

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When you have little or no work experience, good communication skills learnt in the classroom can really help you land your first job


Effective listening is one of the most important skills for a job in accountancy. Every day you will need to listen to others (simply ‘hearing’ what they’re saying is not the same) and process important or complex information, in order to understand and appreciate what they are trying to communicate. Without this ability, messages get lost or are misunderstood, which can lead to costly mistakes and lost opportunities.

So demonstrate that you are a good listener in an interview: give the interviewer your undivided attention, don’t interrupt them, then clarify your understanding of their questions by asking for additional information if need be.

Verbal communication

Can you be persuasive, engaging and enthusiastic when presenting an idea to others? Can you cite examples of presentations or talks you have given in front of a class? Think about how you address others, both face to face and in group-situations.

Accountants are required to present financial information to varied audiences, within and outside their organisation. Not all of these people have knowledge of accounting and finance, so being able to express yourself clearly by articulating your thoughts in an organised, logical and concise manner is paramount.

Written communication

Employers often complain that entry-level accountants’ writing is ineffective and poor. Yet for an accountant good writing skills are as important as the ability to crunch numbers, so if you can show that you can write clearly and grammatically, with attention to detail but also concisely, you will be standing out of the crowd.

Accountants write up and explain financial information and advice in memos, emails and reports for the management as well as for clients and other non-accountants. Most of the writing aims to persuade the reader to take some kind of action, so demonstrate that you can write engagingly while guiding the reader’s thinking in a logical way. You may have produced articles, dissertations or project reports – what was the result?

And don’t forget to mention those high marks awarded for your accountancy essays.

This article originally appeared in Student Accountant magazine. Read the original article

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