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Soft Skills Mastery for Accountants in a VUCA World

Bailey Parnell tells host Rob Brown how accounting, CPA, bookkeeping and fintech professionals can upgrade soft skills to navigate a complex VUCA world.

Welcome to the Accounting Talent Podcast, dropping every Thursday to accounting professionals, finance specialists, software vendors, tech providers and influencers in the accountancy, CPA and bookkeeping space. To participate in our international virtual speed networking events for the accounting community, go to https://accountinginfluencers.com/events and book your place at the next gathering. Great to build your personal brand and make valuable industry connections.

Soft Skills Mastery for Accountants in a VUCA World with Bailey Parnell

Bailey Parnell”, owner of Skills Camp, emphasises the importance of soft skills in the workplace, particularly in high-pressure professions like accounting. She stresses that grit is just one element of resilience and that soft skills are often the skills that characterise our relationships with ourselves and others. Bailey also explains how the VUCA acronym, Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity, applies to the current workplace environment and how soft skills are crucial in navigating it.

Bailey and Rob discuss the need for a growth mindset and being open to continuous learning and development. They emphasise the importance of seeking feedback and auditing one’s skills to identify areas that require action, especially with the increasing automation of some roles. The speakers differentiate between optimists and pessimists and explain how having an optimistic mindset, particularly in times of change and stress, is crucial. The conversation concludes by emphasising the need for a learner-centric approach to teaching soft skills that prioritises the learners’ interests and learning styles over serving the institution.

Key Takeaways

➺ Soft skills are essential in accounting, as they play a significant role in building relationships with colleagues, clients, and stakeholders.

➺ Resilience is a critical soft skill, but it’s not enough. Other essential skills include stress management, empathy, and cross-cultural communication.

➺ The VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity) acronym is a helpful way to describe the current workplace environment, and developing soft skills is crucial in navigating it.

➺ To develop soft skills effectively, a learner-centric approach should be taken that prioritises the learners’ interests and learning styles over institutional needs.

➺ Having a growth mindset, seeking feedback, and auditing one’s skills are essential to continuous learning and development.

➺ Being optimistic is crucial, especially in times of change and stress. Optimism isn’t necessarily about being positive or negative, but rather how one views oneself about what happens.

Bailey Parnell is a 2x TEDx speaker, Founder & CEO of SkillsCamp, and named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women. She is an internationally-recognized entrepreneur, an active humanitarian, and an expert in soft skills training. Bailey has nearly 4 million views on her TEDx talks, and her work has been featured in Forbes, Good Morning America, CBC, and other notable media outlets. She completed her Masters in Communications and Culture at Ryerson University with research on social media’s impact on mental health. This research led to the creation of her signature 5 Steps Towards #SafeSocial and a connected non-profit of the same name. Bailey is known for her skilful storytelling, confidence, research, and humour. She frequently speaks on social media and mental health, soft skills, intergenerational understanding, and being a woman in business.

Bailey’s company SkillsCamp is a soft skills training company that works with businesses and educational institutions to help their staff and students develop the essential skills needed for personal and professional success – personal branding, stress management, emotional intelligence, and public speaking. Bailey’s engaging and informative presentations have reached over 4 million people worldwide. Bailey enjoys wine, cheese, good TV, and “thought experiments” when she’s not working.

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Imogen Allen