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Recent Survey Indicates that CPA’s Lack of “Soft Skills”

CPA-Web-Horizons_right_3cPart of the AICPA’s Horizons 2025 Initiative is identifying the “Soft Skills” that are needed by CPA’s in order to separate themselves from the crowd in the modern business environment. Two of these core competencies identified in the AICPA Initiative are Communication and Leadership. A recent survey by the CPA Center of Excellence indicates that CPAs rank themselves low in these two important areas.

This article will give some short tips on these soft skills that CPAs themselves indicate that they lack. Let’s start with leadership. There has been much research done on this topic over a long period of time with the results being that there are many types of leaders. For example a leader may be an Authoritarian who leads in a dictator style where communication is downward. Opposite of that is Laissez Faire leadership which is basically free rein where communication is horizontal. One more leadership style is Democratic where authority is substantially delegated throughout the organization.

Communication is simply the process of sending and understanding information between two people. With such a simple definition it is amazing how much communication breaks down in normal discussion. The definition goes a little deeper with two types of communication. These are formal communication (budgets and memos) and informal communication (oral, grapevine and electronic communication). Regardless of the type of communication it is important to receive feedback in order to make sure the communication process is completed.

What definition most closely resembles you as a leader? How is communication working in your organization? As we go through the day to day tasks the answers to these questions can easily be overlooked. Leadership and communication are, however, vitally important to an organization’s success. Employees look to have a strong leader, and having a strong leader results in improved communication.