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What You Need to Succeed
Report highlights today's top skills and credentials

November/December 2008 (SmartPros) Here's some welcome news: Highly skilled accounting and finance professionals are needed in any economic environment, according to the newly released 2009 Salary Guide from Robert Half International. Following are additional insights from the guide regarding today's most sought-after skills and credentials:

Stellar soft skills. People skills have become pivotal attributes for job applicants in the eyes of employers. Companies often enhance compensation to secure candidates who have technical expertise and top-notch interpersonal abilities.

Fifty-three percent of chief financial officers said they are willing to hire someone with fewer technical competencies if the candidate had stronger soft skills, according to a Robert Half survey included in the Salary Guide. As a result, job seekers should elevate and promote their communication, leadership and team-building skills in resumes and cover letters.

In-demand accreditations and technical abilities. The certified public accountant (CPA) designation is the most frequently requested professional accreditation for accounting and finance positions. In addition, holding a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) increases marketability. Other noteworthy credentials include the chartered financial analyst (CFA), certified internal auditor (CIA) and certified information systems auditor (CISA) designations.

In terms of technology, advanced knowledge of Microsoft Excel and Access is a common requirement, as is an understanding of enterprise resource planning (ERP) and enterprise risk management (ERM) applications. Experience with financial planning and reporting applications such as Hyperion and Crystal Reports also is valued.

A global mindset. Globalization is having a transformational impact on the accounting and finance professions. As a result, demand is growing for job candidates who have an international outlook and perspective.

Companies that operate overseas or have clients worldwide seek professionals who are multilingual, have worked abroad and are familiar with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). The Salary Guide also notes that many industry experts expect that globalization and the likely near-worldwide adoption of IFRS will drive the next large hiring wave in accounting and finance.

For a complementary copy of the 2009 Salary Guide, visit  or call 800-474-4253.

ACCOUNTEMPS is the world’s first and largest temporary staffing service specializing in the placement of accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. The company has more than 360 offices worldwide and offers online job search services at

2008 SmartPros Ltd. All rights reserved.

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