According to the book Communication Skills, 85 percent of success in business is determined solely by an individual’s communication skills. Perhaps that is why many employers rank “verbal communication skills” as the most important skill necessary to do the job well. John Sanchez, Managing Director for The FPA Group, a consulting firm that specializes in helping businesses with financial planning and analysis (FP&A), shares why communication skills are critical to FP&A professionals and how to help ensure you have the skills necessary to succeed.
Why are communication skills critical to FP&A professionals?
FP&A professionals are required to communicate with many people within their organization, as well as a number of people outside of their organization. In addition, many times the information they need to successfully complete their job must be elicited from people through asking the right questions and exercising good listening skills. On top of this, a number of statistics identify communication skills as critical to completing the job of an FP&A professional. For instance, according to Gartner Research, 70 to 80 percent of business intelligence projects fail due to poor communication. In a subscriber survey by the Harvard Business Review, readers also ranked “ability to communicate” as the most important skill for professionals to demonstrate, above ambition, education and capacity for hard work.
How can FP&A professionals ensure they have the communication skills they need to succeed?
Sanchez advises to create and follow a communication skills development plan. However, this does not need to be a fancy or laborious exercise. In fact, individuals can often simply make a short list of some of the communication skills they most want to improve and set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goals. There are also a ton of resources available to help improve communication skills. Sanchez highly recommends everyone read the book Skills with People by Les Giblin, which could be considered as the “Cliff’s Notes” for communication skills. This resource might also help to generate some of the skills to put on the short list to begin developing.
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