Today, the ability of management accountants to communicate effectively is being tested as never before. From entry level accountants to senior financial executives, management accountants must be able to communicate not only with their peers but also with managers and employees across the corporation, as well as with investors, shareholders, regulators, the media and others about complex audit, tax, business, financial, regulatory, strategic and other issues. Communicating effectively is one of the most important—and challenging—issues that management accountants face.

Study after study has confirmed that business communication skills are essential, regardless of accounting specialty. The Vision Project of the AICPA groups communication and leadership skills together as one of the five core competencies of accountants. The project defines these skills as ‘Able to give and exchange information within meaningful context and with appropriate delivery and interpersonal skills. Able to influence, inspire and motivate others to achieve results.’1 That statement mirrors this book’s conviction that communication and leadership skills go hand in hand. Whether you have just entered an accounting programme or are at the pinnacle of your career, improving your communications skills can help you to become a better leader and more valuable employee.

How, then, can management accountants use communication to inform, influence and persuade others? How do they know if they are effective ...

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