Influencing skills for accountants are key when moving into senior positions.

When you can persuade others of your point of view, you will have 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.

For example, 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. In addition, they will help protect you and your career from more assertive or aggressive colleagues.

Managing your reputation

As a Finance Director or CFO,  you may often have difficult messages to share. Consequently, you may make it easy for others to paint you as the doomsayer – the person who always says “no”.

Influencing others in subtle ways enables you to manage your reputation. As a result, people will know you are more than just the person who always says “no”.

Managing expectations

Your ability to influence other’s view of yourself is much greater if you can learn to manage and influence the expectations of others.

The perception of performance (and ability) is usually a relative concept. People always need to compare it to something. They will start by comparing it to a promise that you made or target that you set.

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. You need to ensure that you guide them 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.

Why are influencing skills for accountants so important?

As a finance professional you can add a lot of value at a strategic level.

Importantly, in these senior management roles, you really need to have the support of key colleagues.

If you develop influencing skills, you will be able to ensure that others hear your point of view and act upon it.


In conclusion, 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 will help set you apart form other accountants and enable you to survive and thrive at senior levels. They are rarely taught. People usually only develop them through bitter experience (if at all).

Which of the other key soft skills for accountants do you need to develop?

Discover the Seven Essential Soft Skills for AccountantsDownload the Report Now