A study by Grant Thornton International has
identified a lack of soft skills – communication, critical thinking
and problem solving – is the biggest challenge when CFOs are hiring
accounting professionals.

Workload and lifestyle were ranked as the
second most significant obstacles when hiring senior finance
employees, followed by a dearth in technical skills among
experienced accounting staffers.

Grant Thornton public policy and external
affairs director Gina Kim said she was surprised to see soft skills
deficiency as the most pressing concern.

“Because of rapidly changing rules and
regulations in the accounting industry, we would have expected lack
of talent with technical accounting skills to be the primary
challenge for CFOs,” she commented.  

The survey also provided insight into the
different viewpoints held by senior finance executives at public
and private companies.

While 62% of public company CFOs thought a
lack of soft skills was the biggest challenge when recruiting
accounting professionals, only 44% of their counterparts at
privately held businesses felt the same.

The study, entitled The Evolving
Accounting Talent Profile: CFO strategies for attracting, training
and retaining experienced accounting and finance
, was conducted between the fourth quarter of
2009 and first quarter of 2010.

It included in-depth interviews with 22
US-based CFOs and 10 CFOs based outside the US, in Australia,
Canada, India and the UK.