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Survey: Few CFOs Plan to Invest in Interpersonal Skills Development for Their Teams


MENLO PARK, Calif., June 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Executives say it takes strong soft skills to move up the corporate ladder, but few firms provide training in this area, a new Accountemps survey finds. When chief financial officers (CFOs) were asked to identify the most common reason their employees fail to advance, poor interpersonal skills was the top response (30 percent). But only one in five (19 percent) executives said their organization is likely to invest in soft skills training for accounting and finance staff in the next two years.

The survey was developed by Accountemps, the world's first and largest specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on interviews with more than 2,100 CFOs from a stratified random sample of companies in more than 20 of the largest U.S. markets.

CFOs were asked, "In your opinion, which one of the following is the most common reason for an employee's failure to advance at your company?" Their responses:

Poor interpersonal skills


Poor work ethic


Not developing new skills


Failure to enhance his or her visibility within the organization


Failure to proactively seek promotions and career advancement


None of these


Don't know/no answer




CFOs also were asked, "Which of the following types of skills training are you likely to invest in for your internal accounting and finance staff in the next two years?" Their responses:




Accounting or finance



Information technology



Soft skills (communication and interpersonal abilities)






None of these



Don't know/no answer







*Responses do not total 100 percent due to rounding.


Although few respondents expect to invest in soft skills training, the results show a greater emphasis on this area than in 2008, when only 8 percent of CFOs planned to support interpersonal skills development.

"Accounting and finance professionals have gradually assumed increased visibility, expanded roles and greater influence within their firms over the past several years, making soft skills an essential competency today," said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps and author of the newly released Human Resources Kit For Dummies®, 3rd Edition (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.). "Providing employees with the tools to become better communicators, consensus builders and negotiators should be a priority for any organization."

Messmer added, "It's a misperception that soft skills can't be learned or honed. There are a wide range of training options, including in-person and online courses, conferences, and workshops. Launching a targeted mentoring program in which professionals with well-developed interpersonal abilities are paired with promising staff members can be a particularly effective strategy."


About Accountemps
Accountemps is the world's first and largest specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. The company has more than 345 offices worldwide and offers online job search services at

SOURCE Accountemps

For further information: Abby Welch, (650) 234-6289,