Emotional intelligence important for accounts, ACCA finds

A report from the ACCA has found that emotional intelligence and a well-rounded skillset are vital if accountants are to thrive in what is increasingly a tech-driven field

The study, Emotional quotient in a digital age, surveyed 4,660 respondents, mainly ACCA students, members and affiliates, and included data from 20 other IFAC bodies. The respondents were from 139 countries.

It found that emotional quotient (EQ), measured against a credible global benchmark specific to the accountancy profession, was an under-valued skill with significant practical application in the modern workplace. Findings showed that emotional intelligence, generally defined as the capacity of one person to recognise the feelings of others and apply them in solutions-driven ways, was of key importance in dealing with the ‘multi-dimensional impact of technology’.

This impact was categorised into six sectors - change readiness, increased diversity, ethics and beliefs, cognition and learning, human-machine interaction and the use of indirect power - and it was found that EQ provided practical benefits in all.

Developing EQ in the workplace, according to the research, was a matter of experience, with greater proficiency ‘correlated with the level of exposure to situations needing that competency’.

Speaking about the research Helen Brand OBE, chief executive of ACCA said: ‘Many people have an intuitive sense of EQ, often expressed as something to do with emotions and interacting effectively with people. But it is important to go beyond this and critically reflect on the value embedded in emotions in today’s digital age. Being able to effectively harness this value is vital for success.’

Report by James Bunney

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