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Develop Your Team’s Soft Skills with Training and Mentoring

The business model in accounting firms is changing fast. Technical and compliance skills are no longer enough. As the profession shifts towards a more advisory and consultative role, clients are looking for new services, and these services require soft skills. 

Soft skills aren’t traditionally taught as part of an accounting education, but they’re essential for making a genuine connection with clients and helping them maneuver complex business and personal finance challenges. 

Good training and mentorship are indispensable for fostering a culture of professional and personal growth. 


Why are soft skills so critical? 

Soft skills encompass a variety of interpersonal and communication abilities and include: 

  • Relationship building 

  • Communication 

  • Decision making 

  • Communication 

  • Leadership 

  • Teamwork 

  • Collaboration 

  • Time management 

These skills are essential for building strong client relationships, fostering teamwork, and leading with integrity and insight. More importantly, they cannot be automated. As technology advances, the traditional work of an accountant in the early years of their career—entering numbers into a tax return, reconciling bank statements, testing financial records, and other routine data entry—is increasingly being handled by technology. 

Clients are no longer just looking for someone to record transactions and keep them compliant. They want an advisor who asks questions, listens to their goals and challenges, and helps them solve problems and grow. 

Building your soft skills learning and development program 

CPA firms must invest in targeted training and mentorship programs to address the growing need for soft skills. Here are some essential areas to focus on. 


Communication skills 

Effective communication is the cornerstone of client trust and successful team collaboration. Training programs should aim to enhance verbal and written communication skills, ensuring that accountants can convey complex information in an accessible and engaging manner. 


Leadership development 

Cultivating leadership qualities in the team members is essential for the growth and sustainability of any organization. By identifying and nurturing potential leaders, firms can ensure a pipeline of skilled professionals ready to take on leadership roles. Leadership development programs should focus on strategic thinking, decision-making, and the ability to inspire and motivate others. 


Emotional intelligence 

Emotional intelligence is the bedrock of strong interpersonal relationships and teamwork. Training in this area should aim to improve empathy, self-awareness, and the ability to anticipate and respond appropriately to the emotional needs of clients and colleagues. This fosters a supportive and collaborative work environment, crucial for the team's well-being and productivity. 


Time management 

The ability to manage time effectively is invaluable in the fast-paced business world. Training programs that focus on prioritization, delegation and efficiency can help employees optimize their productivity and ensure they meet critical deadlines without compromising the quality of work. 


Your firm’s Learning and Development professionals are at the forefront of driving positive change within your firm. By embracing career-focused performance management, nurturing clear career paths, and fostering initiatives to develop soft skills, they can help firms stay competitive, retain talent and create a healthy, supportive work environment. 


By thinking differently and prioritizing the development of soft skills, your firm can thrive in this changing landscape and ensure your continued growth and relevance. 


Are you ready to upskill your team and transform your firm? 

The Boomer Learning & Development Circle is a peer group of learning and development professionals in the accounting profession who share tools and resources to properly support their firms’ learning and development goals. Apply now to ensure you’re focusing on the right skills, engaging learners and demonstrating value to other firm leaders. 


As a Solutions Advisor for Boomer Consulting, Inc., Kylie Pruser is excited about engaging with clients, helping them solve their problems, enrich their businesses and grow. Her primary focus is on communities, including the Talent Circle, Learning & Development Circle, and Operations Circles.



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