Seven vital attributes to success in the modern business accountant

An optimum blend of skills, experience and intelligence are now needed by a professional accountant, finds an in-depth global research project from ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants).

accountant successWith feedback from over 2,000 business and finance professionals around the world, the future of the accountant report is the most in depth analysis of the profession – and where it is headed – ever conducted.

The report has led to ACCA defining what the future finance professional must have by developing a set of seven Professional Quotients – a mix of technical knowledge, skills and abilities formed with interpersonal behaviours and qualities.

  1. Technical skills and ethics (TEQ): The skills and abilities to perform activities consistently to a defined standard while maintaining the highest lest of integrity, independence and scepticism.
  1. Intelligence (IQ): The ability to acquire and use knowledge: thinking, reasoning and solving problems.
  1. Creative (CQ): The ability to use existing knowledge in a new situation, to make connections, explore potential outcomes, and generate new ideas.
  1. Digital (DQ): The awareness and application of existing and emerging digital technologies, capabilities, practices, strategies and culture.
  1. Emotional intelligence (EQ): The ability to identify your own emotions and those of others, harness and apply them to tasks, and regulate and manage them.
  1. Vision (VQ): The ability to predict future trends accurately by extrapolating existing trends and facts, and filling the gaps by thinking innovatively.
  1. Experience (XQ): The ability and skills to understand customer expectations, meet desired outcomes and create value.

Speaking at the launch of the report, Helen Brand OBE, ACCA’s chief executive said:

“The role of the accountant has been revolutionised over the last decade, to become leaders, trusted expert counsel and key strategic advisers to organisations whether in the public or private sectors.

“With this metamorphosis comes a requirement for a whole new set of skills. On top of technical excellence, finance professionals now require creativity, emotional intelligence and the vision to lead.”

Speaking to the public in a separate survey, it becomes evident that despite these Professional qualities being relatable to majority of professions, there is a lack of awareness of them.

The results show that despite 63% knowing what IQ is, only 20% are aware of what their actual IQ level is. A further 80% said they’re unaware of what Emotional Intelligence is, and just 5% know what their EQ level is. This pattern continues with Creative Intelligence, Digital Intelligence and Technical/Ethical competency.

Faye Chua, head of futures research at ACCA, comments:

“People are probably using these skills outlined in these quotients on a daily basis, but in general the awareness of these qualities is very low. Hopefully the new report from ACCA can increase the overall awareness of these traits, as looking to the future there will be a strong demand for working professionals to have a flexible combination of such skills and abilities – even more so than in the present day…

“No matter what sector or industry you work in, there are many ways to upskill in these areas, whether it’s through traditional learning, online learning or even through our daily lives. What is important is our curiosity; being relentlessly curious will drive our skills in these areas.”