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Effective Communication Skills for Accountants: Key to Conflict Resolution

Sharissa Barnett Feb 22, 2024 8:30:00 AM
effective communication skills for accountants in business

Good communication is necessary for building and maintaining relationships in an accountant’s workplace. It is also a necessity for other workplaces. Poor communication can impact organizational dynamics and business outcomes negatively. It can lead to misunderstandings, lower productivity, conflicts, and financial losses.

If conflict is an occasional occurrence in your accounting job, you’re not alone. Forbes reports that as many as 85 percent of employees experience some conflict. Unhealthy workplace conflict comes with a high cost. Workers in U.S. companies spend around 2.8 hours each week on conflict. This amounts to around $359 billion in hours paid wasted on conflict. You can use this wasted time to boost productivity. Effective communication is crucial for conflict resolution in accountants' workplaces. Thus, you should not take it for granted.

effective communication skills for accountants

The Importance of Effective Communication Skills for Accountants

Ensuring effective communication skills for accountants is an absolute necessity for organizational growth. This is because it can enable a team to achieve their goals. Accountants generate, organize, store, and convey financial information. They do this for both profit and non-profit organizations. Their role in money management is one of the most important organizational roles.

Financial statements can be a bit technical and hence difficult to understand. Some clients, fellow employees and other stakeholders may find them hard to read. As an accountant, you should help others understand financial statements and related documents.

By communicating your accounting records effectively, you make life easier for others. You boost the trust and confidence they have in you. You ensure that your organization's financial position is always accurately presented. Additionally, clear communication reduces the likelihood of misunderstandings and conflict. But conflicts may eventually arise. An organization's work to ensure effective communication skills for accountants may influence conflict resolution positively.

Do Accounting Qualifications Recognize the Need for Effective Communication Skills for Accountants?

It's hard to tell if every tertiary institution offers accounting communication courses. Such courses emphasize the importance of effective communication for accountants. But there are institutions that do. The CPA exam at the University of Texas requires a course in accounting or business communications. Monash University offers "Business Communication for Accounting Professionals." Oklahoma State University operates a School of Accounting Communication

6 Effective Communication Skills for Accounting Professionals

There is a positive relationship between effective communication and conflict resolution. So, prioritizing communication skills for accountants can help you avoid conflicts. You can also cope better when they do arise. Here 6 effective communication skills for accounting practitioners:

1. Subject Matter Mastery

The first step to being a great communicator is to understand what you intend to communicate. In other words, an accountant needs to have an in-depth knowledge of the subject matter. Accounting is a discipline that deals with numbers and calculations a lot. So a good understanding of basic mathematics is essential. The more your knowledge, the greater your chances of communicating effectively and authoritatively.

2. Excellent Writing Ability

Even if you have the highest IQ, your intelligence may not always be optimally articulated. This will happen if you struggle to construct sentences. You need to make the most impact on your target audience. This is one of the reasons open-ended questions are important. They mandate students to express themselves freely in their own words. Freedom of expression helps them develop key creative writing and critical thinking skills. Writing creatively also involves presenting complex ideas simply and clearly.

3. Strong Oratory

Communicating effectively through your writing is one side of the coin. The other side is having strong oral presentation skills. You toiled to prepare that speech for your company’s AGM or another event. You’ll also need the ability to deliver it in a most impactful way.

Some strategies can help you become a powerful oral communicator. For instance, you need to read constantly to develop your linguistic capabilities. It is also necessary to practice constantly before you present a speech to an audience.

4. Active Listening

One important communication habit you need to develop is good listenership. If you intend to be an effective communicator, you need to imbibe this habit. Remember, hearing is quite different from listening. You may hear a dog barking nearby but the barks make no sense to you. In contrast, you need to listen with rapt attention to understand your teacher.

The human mind or brain tends to drift away when speaking or communicating with others. You can arrest this by cultivating the habit of listening actively to others. Absent-mindedness can be a stumbling block to effective communication if not subdued.

5. Collaborative Spirit

Collaborative spirit, in this sense, means being able to live with all kinds of people having all kinds of personal differences. In a typical cosmopolitan workplace, there is bound to be a mix of ethno-cultural backgrounds, variations in academic qualifications, religious ideologies and political inclinations.

Tolerance and a high level of emotional intelligence are key here. If you’re someone who has an inflexible set of principles when it comes to human relations, then you may find it hard to communicate effectively in a workplace or audience with mixed personalities.

The logic is that to be an effective communicator, you must be an all-accommodating personality. You should be capable of engaging with those around you without prejudice or bias. In other words, you must be a good team player. This skill will help you build positive relationships with fellow employees, clients and others.

6. Being Tech Savvy

Today’s business environment is digitally driven. Hence, software now ranks high when considering effective communication skills for accountants. In a nutshell, the modern accountant must be tech-savvy to function well. This quality will enable you to communicate and collaborate most productively in your workplace.

Tips on Conflict Resolution in the Workplace

A good workplace communication culture can facilitate effective communication skills for accountants. Such a culture can go a long way in ensuring that conflicts do not arise. But if a conflict does arise, the following tips can help bring about timely and just conflict resolution in the workplace:

  1. The conflict resolver should conduct in-depth research on the causes of the conflict. If necessary, they should document it as a report
  2. The conflict resolver should communicate with the conflicting parties in an unbiased manner
  3. It is important to actively listen to all parties. This will help ensure objective decisions or resolution
  4. Companies must specify language or utterances that are unacceptable in their workplace
  5. Internal conflict resolution mechanisms may sometimes fail. This may lead to seeking the assistance of professional conflict resolution experts. Such external help may include public law enforcement agencies (but may come at an extra cost)
  6. Employees must receive communication about lessons from conflicts and decisions made to resolve them. This will help prevent future occurrences


Ensuring effective communication skills for accountants in any organization is a necessary condition for conflict resolution in the workplace. However, developing the above-mentioned 6 effective communication skills for accounting requires hard work. We now live in a digital world, for example. So accounting professionals must be tech-savvy to perform their jobs efficiently. Basil Practice Management Software for accountants, CPAs and tax professionals includes communication tools such as email integration and messaging which help teams stay connected and informed.

Sign up for Basil today to ensure effective communication skills for accountants in your organization!

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