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Accountants need to adapt skillset

Having a diverse range of skills is becoming increasingly important to people who want to pursue a successful career in accountancy, according to some of the biggest financial companies in the world.

Whether it's being fluent in more than one language or volunteering in your spare time, having more than the traditional accountancy skills on your CV could make candidates stand out from the crowd when it comes to securing that ideal role.

Of course, part of this is because it shows that you are constructive with your free time, and this suggests an employee who will be self-motivated and ambitious, a trait that is admirable and desirable in finance. However, research has suggested that people who are multilingual are beneficial to a workforce in other ways.

One study from Pennsylvania State University found that people who could speak another language had superior multi-tasking skills, while numerous teams have shown that multilingualism promotes better memory skills.

For those who don't typically meld well with second languages, showing that you have some 'life experience' could work just as well for you when it comes to standing out from the crowd. Whether this is travelling abroad to work or experience other cultures, or volunteering in your local community, a report from the Financial Times suggests this can be just as impressive.

The article indicates that this experience doesn't just give candidates skills that are 'nice' to have, it actually sets them up for the current economic climate. Carola Hoyos, writing for the Financial Times, suggests that doing these kind of activities gives people empathy and curiosity, but most importantly experience of working outside their comfort zone.

In the current landscape, where business and industries can change in a heartbeat, this is an advantageous skillset for any company to boast.

Whether you choose to get some real-life experience by volunteering or develop your cognitive skills by learning another language, the increasing demand for this diverse expertise reflects a changing job landscape. Accountants who are looking to remain relevant, as well as those who are trying to kickstart their career, would do well to prioritise extra-curricular activities to give them a head start over other candidates.

It's not just companies who are highlighting the importance of skill diversity in the workplace, with many accountants themselves wanting jobs that allow them to have flexibility within their role. As the financial economy adapts and evolves, professionals having autonomy and who are able to act confidently with this responsibility, are increasingly crucial to the success of businesses.