Influencing Skills For Accountants

Influencing skills for accountants are key when moving into senior positions. Being able to persuade others of your point of view can be a very effective way of navigating through office politics.

Developing political antennae

Having your finger on the pulse of the dynamics of the office environment will give you a significant advantage. Being able to see alliances forming and to understand their potential impact on you and your team gives you space to prepare yourself for any unwanted surprises. Picking up on the nuances of what’s going on underneath the surface will help you when influencing others – and help protect yourself and your career from more assertive or aggressive colleagues.

Managing your reputation

As a Finance Director you may often have difficult messages to share and can easily be painted by others as the doomsayer – the person who always says no. Influencing others in subtle ways enables you to manage your reputation, so that people know you are more than just the person who always says “no”.

Managing expectations

Your ability to influence other’s view of yourself is greatly enhanced if you can learn to manage the expectations of others. The perception of performance and ability is usually a relative concept – compared to something. If you are able to set reasonable expectations at the outset, then you can have more control over how you and your team are perceived. Over-promising and under-delivering is rarely a recipe for getting promoted! Managing the expectations of your boss can enhance your prospects and give you a more enjoyable working life.

Managing Boards

As a Finance Director you will often be reporting to a Board. Using your influencing and persuasion skills can be vital here to ensure that they are guided appropriately to draw the right conclusions from the information provided – and that they don’t “shoot the messenger”! Understanding how to persuade and influence a group like this will make your working life at a senior level both less stressful and more productive!

Networking skills

Networking skills for accountants are an important component of influencing. Building a network of people who know you and trust you will make it much easier to get things done. By enlisting the support of others you can break down obstacles or circumvent blockages.

Influencing skills for accountants bring a range of benefits including:

  • navigating office politics successfully
  • managing upwards
  • controlling your reputation
  • enlisting support for controversial decisions
  • ensuring that accountability is located appropriately
  • building alliances that can help you
  • help others appreciate your levels of performance

Developing these skills – which are rarely taught and usually develop through bitter experience (if at all) – will help set you apart form other accountants and enable you to survive and thrive at senior levels.