Over the last few weeks, I have been looking at soft skills and their growing importance in the world of accounting. Previously, I took a look at analytical thinking as a soft skill, and why it’s a vital part of what makes an accountant successful in the finance industry. However, analytical thinking is by no means the only important soft skill, as hiring managers and clients are paying just as much attention to problem-solving. Your team won’t get very far in finance without problem-solving, but why is it so important?
In this blog, I have looked at the role problem-solving plays in a busy workplace, and how it’s a soft skill that can hugely improve any team.
Why Problem-Solving is an Important Soft Skill to Have
● Overcome Challenges - There are always challenges to overcome at work, big and small, and problem-solving makes this a lot easier. With problem-solving abilities, it’s a lot easier to find solutions and overcome obstacles that could otherwise hold you back.
● Critical Thinking - There is no denying that critical thinking is important for a finance professional, and this is only possible with good problem-solving abilities. Being able to analyse a situation, break down complex issues and find the right solution contributes to successful outcomes.
● Think Outside the Box - Working in accounting means identifying problems and exploring solutions, some of which require thinking outside of the box. Having good problem-solving skills means being able to come up with innovative solutions, think creatively and generate new ideas.
● Quickly Make the Right Decisions - Problem-solving skills make it a lot easier to make decisions quickly, especially when you are faced with a variety of choices. Instead of rushing into a decision, problem-solving skills help your team to evaluate the pros and cons of each option, and the potential outcome.
How to Improve Your Problem-Solving Skills
Regardless of how good your team’s problem-solving skills are, there is always room for improvement. You can improve your team’s problem-solving soft skills by encouraging them to define the problem, and really working out what is being asked. Take the time to clearly understand the problem that needs to be solved, and ensure that everyone fully understands every aspect of it. If possible, provide any information and relevant data that might help a team to find a solution.
When a problem needs solving at work, make sure your team isn't afraid to make a mistake, as many solutions only arise after a fair amount of trial and error. Experimentation with different solutions allows everyone to learn from failures based on results and feedback. Also, there is nothing wrong with asking for help, as the problem being solved quickly is the most important thing. Collaborative problem-solving brings diverse perspectives to the table, so engage multiple colleagues to gain insights that an individual might not have considered.
Of course, there are other soft skills that are just as important, and problem-solving is just one of many, all of which are key if you want to lead your team to success. Check back next week to discover the next soft skill on my list.