UPFRONT Beancounters rule!

It seems accountants and finance professionals are not only more in demand, they’re leapfrogging up the corporate ladder – from backroom to boardroom.

That’s according to recent survey by Robert Half Finance and Accounting. Conducted in nine countries and including responses from 1550 managers in charge of finance and recruiting, it showed the accountant’s role is becoming more central to corporate governance, management operations and overall business strategy.

More than third of Kiwi respondents reckoned the role of finance professionals was becoming more important in their company – 10 percent thought it was becoming more interesting.

Robert Half’s local manager Kim Smith says there’s been an increasing trend for accountants to move from data crunching to more strategic role in the company and many now serve as analysts, forecasters and managers.

Employees are helping accelerate this trend because they have boardroom ambitions, says Smith. However, she notes the shift in responsibilities also demands additional skills. Those identified by Robert Half Finance and Accounting include:
* international experience – knowledge of International Accounting Standards is an increasing priority;
* strategic analysis – seeing the big picture and underlying trends;
* technical abilities – such as e-commerce and the safeguard of digital assets;
* communication skills – the ability to convey in-depth business information in non-specialist terminology to widening range of people; and
* professional certifications.

“Succeeding in the changing field of accounting requires commitment to learning and willingness to adapt to new requirements,” says Smith.

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