Anyone considering studying accountancy or a business course – or a top up degree – needs to hone up their storytelling technique!
This is no fairytale story. Storytelling has become a skill that’s increasingly important in all business functions, but marketing and financial management are right at the top when it comes to using storytelling to inform, inspire and engage.
A diverse role
Gone are the days when people in charge of financial affairs were number crunchers with one eye on compliance. These days accountants need to be ready to play a part in creating business strategies and making financial predictions.
This shift in required skills and mindset for accountants is partly due to the advent of cloud accounting, and recent changes in the tax system in the UK.
Now accountants are not just putting together records of transactions and preparing accounts. They need to be able to analyse, and present financial matters – taking snapshots of key information and placing them in the context of the overall business status and projections.
An expression that has been coined is that accountants need “cut-through” abilities. This means the skill to extract important financial trends and predictions to inform business decision-makers as succinctly as possible.
This is a technique that runs through all business functions thanks to the age we live in. Social media has played a huge part in building a culture of “sharing” and looking behind cold hard facts.
Persuasion is the focal point of business transactions now. You are not just presenting figures, you are “selling them” and giving them context. It links to the twin pillars of modern business relationships – competence and warmth.
Increasingly, stakeholders want information that influences, inspires and engages. Facts need to be packaged into who, what, why, where, when and how. It links to another current buzz phrase in business, “emotional intelligence“.
Communication is key
So you have to be able to express why things should change, rather than just giving the bald truths of where that decision came from. Clearly, communication skills are going to be a key part of any accountant’s tool box.
It’s ironic, in an age of rapidly advancing technology, that greater emphasis is being put on “emotion” as central to business and consumer decision making. It’s why initiatives such as Kickstarter have grown so fast. This is a platform for new business start-ups or new projects to seek investment, using “storytelling” to appeal to emotionally intelligent funders.
So back to the next chapter in your career. If you are thinking of joining us at Mont Rose College in Ilford, we would be delighted to be the start of your success story.