ACCA: This Non-Technical Competency is Key to Accountants’ Success in the Digital Era

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If you think emotions and accountancy are unrelated realms, think again.

To succeed in an era of increasing digitization, professional accountants need a rounded set of skills that go beyond technical knowledge, important as it is, said ACCA recently.

ACCA refers to these skills as the professional quotients – a model that encapsulates technical excellence, ethics, and a range of personal skills and qualities, one of which is the emotional quotient.

‘Many people have an intuitive sense of EQ, often expressed as something to do with emotions and interacting effectively with people,” said Helen Brand, chief executive of ACCA. “However, it’s important to go beyond this and critically reflect on the value embedded in emotions in today’s digital age. Being able to effectively harness this value is vital for success.”

According to the findings from the organization’s latest report, Emotional Quotient in a Digital Age—based on responses from 4,660 participants mainly comprising ACCA students, members and affiliates from 139 countries, developing one’s EQ requires working on a range of competencies including a growth mindset, self-knowledge, perspective-taking, empathy and influence.

The growth mindset emerged as a key enabler for the development of EQ and is a point of high leverage – for example, improvements here can help with those needed across all emotional competencies more generally, ACCA noted.

The findings also showed that experience can be an enabler for improving EQ with higher scores for many competencies being correlated with the level of exposure to situations needing that competency, the organization added.

“An implication of this is that EQ can be learned – it is not a magic trick, and like most other skills, it can be developed and improved over time. The more one focuses on it, the better it becomes,” Brand said.

The report also explores the multi-dimensional impact of technology on the need for EQ in professional accountants.