In order to be a successful accountant, there are a ton of hard and soft skills you are required to have. Obviously, these include exceptional organization and attention to detail, as well as a mastery of mathematics. But how important is communication in accounting?\nWhen taking the next step into managing an accounting firm, more skills are necessary that may not be immediately apparent to the average accountant or auditor.\nAmong these soft skills, communication is one of the most important as it can make the difference between respectful client relationships and a string of misunderstandings.\nThat’s why it’s concerning when many professionals neglect communication in their accountant training and education.\nTypes of communication in the accounting field\nYou might be wondering:\nWhy do accountants need communication skills in the first place?\nWhen considering the typical skill sets of specialized accounting experts, the stereotype is often that they’re much better with numbers than they are with words.\nAnd while this may be the case for some entry-level positions in a typical accounting firm, it is far from the case when observing upper management.\nAccountants looking to enhance their upward mobility will want to ensure they can embody the following positive traits.\nGrow your accounting firmWith streamlined time tracking and productivityTry it now\nVerbal communication in accounting\nFrom the managerial perspective, considerable emphasis is placed on verbal communication in the accounting process.\nAfter all, the typical workload for a firm, whether at one of the Big 4 or a smaller organization, will inevitably involve several people working toward a singular goal.\nFor this reason, communication is mandatory in order to ensure everyone works in tandem.\nThe simplest method of ensuring that your communication is effective with immediate and tangible feedback is through verbal means, such as a conference call or meeting. This is crucial for upholding good working relationships.\nNonverbal communication and accounting report writing\nAside from verbal communication, the modern accountant in a management position or above also needs to be competent in written communication.\nAn email or internal memo can fill everyone in on any changes to a large-scale project or audit. Employing good written communication can save time and energy that can then go toward serving the needs of clients.\nAdditionally, one of the most important methods of nonverbal communication in accounting is report writing. This method of informing both fellow team members and clients of the exact state of things is important in an industry where even minor miscommunications can lead to major mistakes.\n\nMarketing and communications for accounting firms\nAccounting firms need to be competent in one of the most important methods of communication for any business: marketing.\nCommunication is one of the best ways for any business, including those related in accounting and auditing, to create engaging content, capitalize on trends, and increase their social media presence.\nUltimately, marketing and communication are one and the same.\nBut why do accountants need to be good communicators?\nThey’re often the first interaction a potential client has with your firm. Whether it’s at a networking event or casual gathering, if accountants can sum up your firm’s differentiator and client focus, they can further spread your marketing message for you.\nClient communication in accounting\nWhat is the ultimate purpose of communicating accounting information?\nTo give clients a clear understanding of their personal or business finances. Bookkeepers, accountants, CPAs and other tax professionals need to communicate well with clients so that clients understand their own situation.\nAfter all, the primary goal of accountants as communicators is serving their clients.\nFortunately, many of the aforementioned methods of effective internal communication can be easily used as effective methods of communication with clients, as well.\nManage accounting teams and clientsTime tracking, payments, invoicing, and moreSign up free\nHow to improve communication with clients\nAs previously mentioned, in addition to using marketing communication to attract potential customers, it’s also important for accountants to effectively communicate with clients.\nThis is true for both verbal and non-verbal communication. Here’s how to excel in accounting client communications.\n1. Effective listening\nWhy is effective listening important to an internal auditor? It allows them to accurately take stock of a client or business’s financial state.\nActively listening is not only crucial for ensuring the project is done correctly. It also builds trust between the firm and the client.\nSimilarly, for managers, effective listening allows them to ascertain the exact needs of their team as it relates to client work, and come up with the best methods of meeting those needs.\nListening is powerful enough to help you overcome the most common communication hurdles.\nNext time you’re facing a tough situation with a client or team member, embrace effective listening and see if a solution presents itself more clearly.\n2. Accounting report writing\nAlthough effective listening is an extremely important aspect of communication in the accounting field, the next step is just as important.\nAccounting managers and firms wondering how to improve communication with customers can see the most significant improvements by observing proper written communication that summarizes a project’s details.\nClients need this information to make important decisions for their business. The better these reports are written and communicated, the better experience your client will have. And thus, the longer and more trusting your relationship will become.\n3. Checking in\nFrom time to time, it’s crucial to reach out to your client to ask specific questions.\nBeing able to easily and quickly derive information can depend on how well you communicate with clients.\nSet up preferred communication channels from the beginning so you know whether a call, email, or text will get to them fastest without halting their workday.\nThen, use communication etiquette to ensure you’re maintaining professionalism no matter how you reach clients.\nTools for improving communication\nHopefully, this article has helped you identify your strengths and weaknesses in communication as an accounting manager, startup owner, internal auditor, or CPA.\nAt this point, the next step is to determine how to prioritize your strengths and mitigate your weaknesses. Fortunately, there are many convenient tools for accountants made expressly to accomplish these tasks.\nSearch engine optimization (SEO)\n\nBy now we know that marketing is an important aspect of external communication for any business.\nIn the modern information age, the primary method that individuals learn new information is through search engines.\nTherefore, improving your ability to appear in search engine results for relevant keywords and phrases will vastly improve your marketing reach and effectiveness.\nSuggested SEO tools: Ahrefs, Clearscope, Yoast\nProductivity\n\nAlthough commonly used for improving internal communication, well-made productivity software can be effective for client communication, as well.\nTools such as Hubstaff allow for accurate time tracking and well-organized invoicing, making it much easier to get paid on time.\nOrganization software also vastly improves communication and productivity as managers don’t need to check in and disrupt work time.\nFinally, location tracking and budgeting tools can ensure that managers are always informed as to which clients their employees are working with at all times — giving them the freedom to better manage workloads and future projects.\nSuggested productivity software: Hubstaff, Quickbooks, Trello\n\nLike this post?\nGet more great advice. Subscribe to the Hubstaff blog.\n\n\n\n\nThe bottom line\nCommunication matters.\nIt matters to accountants or auditors who are looking to improve their relationships with their clients and companies.\nIt matters to managers of startups and accounting firms looking to bolster their business and profit margins.\nAnd it matters to the clients themselves, who want to work with individuals and organizations that can listen to their concerns and come up with effective solutions.\nThe first step to improving communication is by identifying strengths and weaknesses.\nAfter that, it’s just a matter of finding the right combination of tools, talent, and training.\nKeeping these tips in mind should lead to impressive results for your career and your company’s performance.\n\nAbout the author\nBryce Welker is a CPA, finance & accounting thought leader, and CEO of multiple companies including Crush The CPA Exam.