Writing in Accountancy Age, Patricia Cullen looks at how accounting practices need to consider expanding their services and skills to survive in 2020 and beyond as technological developments bring about huge changes in how global accounting firms’ function. Cullen says that while compliance and assurance remains high on the agenda, in today’s business landscape clients need a business adviser. She adds that accountancy is now more than just number crunching, and soft skills are the key differentiators in the modern workplace. The soft skills which she deems as important are: Leadership; Communication skills; Time management; Emotional intelligence; and critical thinking/problem solving. Paul Eagland, BDO’s Managing Partner, comments: “The role of an accountant is changing as quickly as the world we live in. A high IQ is needed to solve clients’ difficult technical challenges. Tax, audit and advisory are intellectually rigorous disciplines and logic is essential. Equally, business is based on relationships which flourish with honest and transparent communication, and that’s why EQ is so important. There is now a third skill needed, this is what I would refer to as digital quotient (DQ).”

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