Accounting and finance professionals increasingly need soft skills to succeed, according to a study.
Based on more than 200 interviews with UK finance executives, consultancy Robert Half UK identified "strong leadership skills" as the top attribute that contributes to success, as cited by 60% of people.
Nearly half (47%) said strong technical skills were important to reach the top because successful finance leaders "must be appropriately skilled and knowledgeable".
Effective communication (33%) was the third most cited key skill for a successful career, followed by competitive nature (32%), futuristic outlook (30%), strong interpersonal skills (17%) and risk taking (16%).
When working with other departments, 42% said the most common challenge was managing stress from crisis situations. Prioritising conflicting deadlines was the second most common cross-departmental challenge as cited by 26% of respondents.
Learning to interact with a variety of personalities (15%) came third, while conveying financial information in non-financial terms (14%) followed behind.
Phil Sheridan, managing director at Robert Half UK, said: "Accounting and finance no longer operates as a silo and has affirmed its position as a strategic partner to the business, encompassing more than the ability to crunch numbers.
"The importance for accounting and finance professionals to have exceptional soft skills as well as technical ability is a reflection of that. These professionals need the leadership skills and effective communication backed by technical ability to deliver actionable insight for the business."