Speaking to New Accountant, Australian Accounting Awards 2019 Accounting Student of the Year Jessica Lasky said that while academic achievements remained crucial in pitching yourself to an employer, demonstrating capabilities outside an academic setting was key to standing out from the crowd.
“Academics are great but being well-rounded, whether that is through societies or through a sport, through volunteering — that gives you something extra to make you relatable to your clients as well as your employers,” Ms Lasky said.
“I think employers are looking for people who can put their mind to something and that might not be academic, but it could be being a good team player, someone who can work with different people, can communicate well with their teammates as well as clients — all in all a well-rounded person and not someone who is just purely academic, which used to be the case.”
The sentiment from Ms Lasky, a fourth-year Bachelor of Law and Commerce undergraduate at the University of New South Wales, and a cadet accountant at Deloitte, is similarly shared by employers, with a recent Sage report showing that emotional intelligence was a vital factor in assessing a candidate.
“I believe analytical thinking is part of an accountant’s DNA and honed during their training. However, it’s emotional intelligence which is the most important factor when assessing a candidate,” said Dominic Myssy, principal at Sydney-based practice Myssy + Co.
“The ability to communicate complex ideas in a way that demonstrates empathy will always win out for me over technical ability. Technical skills can be taught, but emotional intelligence is much more difficult to foster and nurture in staff.”
For the full list of award winners from this year's Australian Accounting Awards, click here.