background image
ach year, firm and company
leaders are surveyed about what
skills are desirable among new
and experienced staff. Year after year,
the results are typically the same. Most
of the time, staff have the technical
skills they need or are successfully ac-
quiring them through on-the-job train-
ing and professional education. The
most-desired additional skills needed
are non-technical, or "soft skills."
In fact, a recent Robert Half Finance
& Accounting survey found that 54%
of CFOs interviewed said they give
equal weight to both specialized and
nontechnical (or soft) skills when eval-
uating candidates for staff-level ac-
counting and finance positions. When
it comes to filling management-level
roles, 50% of the CFOs said that tech-
nical and nontechnical skills are of
equal importance.
Accounting professionals need to be
able to work as part of a team, col-
laborate across departments and with
outside vendors, and act as strategic
partners for their clients and cowork-
ers. Many firm or company leaders
spend more time employing their soft
skills than they do their technical ones.
If you're a current leader and you want
to develop future leaders, when do
you think your team members should
start soft skills training? If you're an
up-and-coming superstar, when do
you want to start your soft skills train-
ing? If you said "right now," we're on
the same page!
Leadership Training
I remember reading an article in the
Journal of Accountancy in early 2010
about a new American Institute of
CPAs (AICPA) offering the Leader-
ship Academy. The purpose was to get
36 young, diverse CPAs together for a
week to start developing future leaders
of the profession.
[Editor's Note: See
leadershipacademy to read the ar-
chived Connecticut CPA feature about
how the Leadership Academy was a
meaningful experience for three young
CTCPA members, who are now all
actively involved in CTCPA leadership.
In addition, CTCPA Fairfield County
New and Young Professionals Cabinet
member Jessica Smith of Reynolds &
Rowella has been selected to partici-
pate in the 2017 Leadership Academy
this October.]
Following the first two Leadership
Academy classes, the AICPA started
offering an annual leadership confer-
ence open to anyone across the coun-
try. Within a few years, state CPA soci-
eties were running their own leadership
conferences as well, with the help of
Leadership Academy alumni and state
society staff who wanted to bring the
programing closer to home (like our
staff at the CTCPA!)
How to manage projects upward or downward and how
tomorrow's leaders can start to build their management skills today
By Michael Maksymiw Jr., CPA, Senior Manager, Filomeno & Company, West Hartford;
Member-at-Large, CTCPA Advisory Council
for Accountants