Survey Shows Accounting Professionals Need More Than Numbers Know-How

MENLO PARK, CA -- Accounting graduates entering today’s job market should be prepared to highlight their technical expertise as well as their gift for numbers. Chief financial officers (CFOs) surveyed recently said that in addition to accounting skills, they look for professionals who have information technology proficiency (34 percent). Business acumen is also a desirable quality, receiving 23 percent of the response.

The survey was developed by Robert Half Finance & Accounting, the world’s first and largest recruitment firm specializing in the placement of accounting and finance professionals. Conducted by an independent research firm, the survey includes responses from 1,400 CFOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with more than 20 employees.
CFOs were asked, “Other than traditional accounting knowledge, which one of the following skills is most in demand for accounting and finance professionals today?” Their responses:


Information technology 34%
General business knowledge 23%
Communication skills 17%
Customer service orientation 11%
Leadership abilities 9%
Other  1%
Don’t know/no answer 5%

“To improve efficiencies, organizations are automating many of their accounting functions or upgrading their financial information systems,” said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half and author of Job Hunting For Dummies®, Second Edition (Hungry Minds, Inc.). “As a result, recent accounting graduates with a demonstrated aptitude for technology-related projects are at an advantage in a competitive market.”

Messmer pointed out that business acumen remains critical: “Increasingly, accounting professionals provide guidance on the financial impact of decisions ranging from information technology investments to corporate governance issues. This requires an understanding of broader business concerns as well as traditional finance and accounting skills.”

Founded in 1948, Robert Half Finance & Accounting is a division of Robert Half and has more than 320 locations throughout North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Robert Half Finance & Accounting offers online job search services and employer resources at

print Print   email E-mail   rss RSS