Website Notifications

Get notifications in real-time for staying up to date with content that matters to you.

‘There’s nothing soft about soft skills’

Soft skills could be more important than your technical skills when it comes to landing your next accounting gig, say industry experts.

Career Jotham Lian 25 September 2019
— 1 minute read

Speaking to New Accountant on the sidelines of Xerocon earlier this month, Xero managing director Trent Innes said the topic of soft skills has dominated conversations in accounting firms when it comes to finding the right talent for the business.


“There’s nothing soft about soft skills,” Mr Innes said.

“I hate that they’re calling them soft skills because it actually makes it sound not important, but its actually become super important.

“Its probably become more important than the technical knowledge, because historically a lot of the technical knowledge you learnt was going to last you for the whole of your career.

“Its more about being able to find talent, you know across all the ranges, and not just the skills like how to use Xero, or how to provide accounting cloud-based services, or bookkeeping services, but in the sense that [accounting firm principals] are looking for people coming through now that have got better people skills than they have.”

Mr Innes’ comments are backed by recruitment specialists Hays, with their 2019–20 salary guide finding that close to one-third of employers indicating that soft skills have the highest impact on the effectiveness of their organisation.

Of the 3,400 organisations in Australia surveyed for the Hays Salary Guide, almost two-thirds — or 62 per cent — of those who intend to add permanent staff to their organisation this financial year want candidates with problem solving skills. Another 58 per cent want strong communication skills and 47 per cent want critical thinking skills.

“Technical skills aren’t all it takes to get a new job this financial year,” said Nick Deligiannis, managing director of Hays in Australia and New Zealand.

“While technical capabilities ensure you can do a job, it’s soft skills that allow someone to share and discuss ideas, forge effective relationships with stakeholders, work with others to solve problems and accurately look at information to come to the best conclusion.

“It’s these soft skills that allow someone to function well in a workplace. They distinguish candidates who otherwise possess similar technical skills and so play a vital role in your job search and subsequent career progression.”

‘There’s nothing soft about soft skills’
image intro
accountantsdaily logo

The Accountants Daily 30 Under 30 Awards
This prestigious awards ceremony is the benchmark for excellence, recognising the industry’s most distinguished professionals, aged 30 and under across Australia, highlighting their outstanding achievements and dedication within the industry. Register to the waitlist today to be first in line for updates on when tickets to attend become available, visit accountantsdaily30under30.com.au to join the waitlist.

Jotham Lian

Jotham Lian

Jotham Lian is the editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.

Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.

You can email Jotham at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.