Think back fondly to your grade 12 English class. Remember when you had to read Shakespeare? Poetry by Robert Frost? Or that riveting classic “The Stone Angel?” No? Fair enough. Maybe you haven’t discovered your inner writer yet. But as an accountant, you need to. Yes, we said it. Accountants need to be able to write well. And while you don’t have to be a Pulitzer Prize winning author, having some gift with the pen, (or the keyboard or, well, your phone– it is 2015 after all), can pay some dividends.
Here’s why writing skills matter if you’re an accountant.
Yes you need to be a numbers ninja as an all-star accountant. But if you think about it, your day to day job still involves a fair amount of written communication, even if it’s of the more mundane variety. Maybe you’re answering client questions, or posing one or two of your own. Perhaps you need to send collaboratively worded emails to a colleague, or communicate with the government when you prepare notices of objections of voluntary disclosures. Regardless, your ability to write in a clear, concise way is an integral part of being effective at your job.
You’re a Translator
The numbers make sense to you. The messaging is clear. Except that to most of your non-financial peers or clients it’s not. They need you to tell them the story in the numbers and they need you to make it relevant. And while you might find that easier when you sit down and chat with them, your job also requires you to provide written explanations (think some financial statements or special reports, or even tax forms for authorities which demand some written explanation from the firm). So strip away the jargon and make it accessible to the average person.
Changing Modes of Communication
Once upon a time, you used to pick up the phone and talk to a client or colleague. But there has been an evolution in how people communicate. Whether it’s email, or instant messaging, you need to be able to communicate in writing. Remember, it’s hard to discern a person’s tone in an email, so the ability to craft your message is particularly important. If you want to learn how to write great emails, then take the time to read this Forbes article.
Your professional brand matters. To be able to build it on-line, through social media platforms such as LinkedIn, you need to be able to write well in outcome focused language that accurately describes who you are, what you’ve done and how you define yourself. And since you can also build your professional brand through writing a blog that hits on the hot issues of the day, or starting discussions in relevant, on-line forums or LinkedIn groups, writing well is of particular importance to making sure you’re communicating the right message. Here’s how to create a great LinkedIn profile.
Ultimately your employer wants someone who is a numbers whiz. But, they also want someone who can communicate effectively. Writing poorly does not help your professional brand, nor will it move your career forward if your reports, forms, or any of the other documents you need to produce are badly written. So while we love that you are a home run Excel expert, we also invite you to consider sharpening your skills with the written word.
Your Next Step
No one should walk the job search or hiring road alone. At Clarity Recruitment we help others realize their success through a process that marries proprietary technology with unwavering commitment. Contact us today to take control of your career, or to partner with us to hire well.
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