Two findings I thought were particularly interesting:
1. Soft skills ranked as more important than hard skills. Thirty-three percent of the accountants who responded felt that an ability to inspire and motivate is the most important quality of leadership in the 21st century. Next most important: communications skills (15%), followed by people management skills (13%). And yet, accountants said that hard skills such as global knowledge/expertise, financial acumen and keen decision-making were more rewarded leadership qualities at their organizations.
2. Training remains a non-discretionary expense. Despite the economic downturn, workforce training remains an important investment for many companies with 31% of survey respondents saying training is a non-discretionary expense. Other non-discretionary expenses include: workforce flexibility (27%), succession planning (26%), leadership development (25%) and enhancing the company’s brand (25%).
Perhaps firms will begin to listen to what their staff are intuitively noticing — that qualities of leadership are shifting over time, and the thrivers will be lead by those who can inspire and motivate. Technical skills are a given these days — but true leadership skills are on the learning curve.
For more details on the survey, I recommend that you pay a visit to Rick Telberg’s fantastic blog, CPA Trendlines.