Hard skills are technical skills that are studied and learned in order to accomplish certain jobs. Traditionally speaking, these hard skills are what’s listed on your cover letter and resume because they’re what initially get you noticed by hiring organizations.

However, research shows that employers are placing increased importance on a candidate’s soft skills. So what are soft skills? They are personal attributes that are non-technical in nature and reflect important interpersonal and decision-making capabilities.

According to a recent article by Dale Hes of the Oxbridge Academy, here are the reasons why soft skills are more important than ever:

  1. Hard Skills are Useless Without Soft Skills

Many occupations and jobs require a combination of hard skills and soft skills to truly succeed. For example, a salesperson with unrivaled product knowledge will fail if they don’t have interpersonal skills to connect and close deals with leads. As Dale Hes states, “All careers require at least some soft skills to make the hard skills valuable.”

  1. Soft Skills are Harder to Learn

While hard skills can be easily learned and mastered over a period of time, soft skills are much more difficult to develop. Since soft skills are linked to a person’s character, it takes a conscious effort, willingness, and commitment to self-development. While technical skills might get you noticed as a job candidate, soft skills get you promoted and lead to sustained long-term career success.

  1. The Modern Workplace is Interpersonal

Current work environments value soft skills such as listening, collaborating, communicating, and problem solving. Strong soft skill proficiency in employees leads to a more productive, collaborative, and healthy work environment.

  1. Customers Demand Soft Skills

No matter the company or industry, the modern market offers consumers an unlimited number of solutions to their problems. Most of the time, soft skill proficiency regarding customer service can provide a competitive advantage that ultimately leads to an organization’s success.

  1. The Future Workplace Will Rely on Soft Skills

Technological advancements, which increase productivity and decrease labor costs, are starting to take over occupations that are solely based on hard skills. Think of self-checkout registers at grocery stores or manufacturing plants using automated machinery instead of skilled labor. According to Dale Hes, “Automation and artificial intelligence will result in a greater proportion of jobs relying on soft skills.”

Most Valued Soft Skills

Now that we’ve recognized why soft skills are important, let’s discuss the specific soft skills that hiring organization value most.

According to a recent study conducted by Bloomberg, in which 1,251 job recruiters and 547 companies were surveyed about the skills they seek the most but struggle to find, the most important soft skills for new job candidates are:

  • Communicating
  • Leading
  • Problem Solving
  • Initiating
  • Organizing

Recognizing the importance of soft skills in personal and professional development is an important first step toward sustained career success. So what’s the next step? Like mentioned before, learning and developing soft skills isn’t so clear cut. If you want to learn more about the easiest way to assess and develop the soft skills that truly impact employability and promotability, access your complimentary eBook – Soft Skill Development: Ensuring success beyond the classroom.


Source: http://www.capsim.com/

Are numbers your thing? Love details?

If the answer is yes, you’ve come to the right place!

Bookkeeping is a rewarding career path and the reasons to study a bookkeeping course go further than just having a head for numbers and killer organizational skills. The field is constantly growing, isn’t narrow—nor is it boring (let’s bust that stereotype right now!). The noble bookkeeper does everything from maintaining financial records, problem solving to taking on the role of trusted financial advisor. And it can be lucrative!

Here are 6 more AMAZING reasons to study Bookkeeping:

1.Every Business needs a Bookkeeper

From big industry leaders in finance and economics to the local grocery store down the road, every business needs someone to look after their books. Bookkeepers are wanted everywhere and anywhere- the list is simply endless! And as a result of this growing demand, there are great job prospects. Equipped with a quality Bookkeeping qualification, you can expect to find employment quickly and easily.

2. Enjoy Flexibility

Need flexible hours? Depending on the organization, Bookkeepers can choose to work part-time or full time. This is especially advantageous if you have a family to consider or are looking to supplement your partner’s income. Furthermore, if you love the sound of working in your pajamas with a cup tea in hand (uhm…bliss!), there are options to work freelance or work from home at some companies.

3. No Multitasking

Does the thought of multitasking make your head spin? We get it. Fortunately, part of your job description will be to prioritize certain tasks over others and to avoid multi-tasking altogether. That’s right, you heard us—no multi-tasking. The ability to focus on one financial situation and to not get distracted is of top priority. For super organized planners, this fact alone is enough to sign up to a bookkeeping course today!

4.Steady Income

In an unsteady economy and uncertain times, earning a constant, good salary equals stability. Bookkeepers can count on earning a solid income which is set to grow with years of experience. PLUS Bookkeepers can also easily transition into higher paid jobs to increase earning potential later on, if so desired. Find out what you’ll earn here:

5.Tailor your Career to your Personality

Variety is the spice of life in Bookkeeping! Tailor your career to fit your personality and stage of life. If you love getting out of the office, choose a job that allows you to move around and work in different settings, or conversely choose a job without travel. Enjoy people? You could work in a bookkeeping job where you interact with loads of clients. On the other hand, if you lean more to the shier side, there are plenty of jobs that don’t require much socializing.

6.Rewarding Career Path

Aspirations to become an accountant one day? Opportunities for advancement are plentiful and many bookkeepers go on to become auditors or accountants. In fact, it is entirely possible to work your way to controller or CFO! Study a Bookkeeping course and you’ll get your foot in the door.

Looking to study a Bookkeeping course? Want to be indispensable to your company? ELMI offers ICB’s world class bookkeeping qualifications. Find the perfect bookkeeping course here – ICB Programmes


Article originally published on: http://www.icb.org.za


The world of work is evolving every day, every hour. New technology has allowed us excel at a rate that we once thought was impossible. The change in our everyday working lives is becoming more apparent. Technological advancements make way for an exciting future. However, with this change means that there will be a greater need  for today’s workforce to learn new skills. You see, the skills that we use today, may not be the skills we need in the future. Therefore, keeping up-to-date with industry news and trends could be the key to your success for the future. It’s time to start planning!

Guthrie Jensen say that we are on the verge of the ‘fourth industrial revolution’, and they’re not far wrong!  Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT) and quantum computing have exploded on to the scene in recent years. With the help of advanced technology, we’ve become far more creative and productive in our work. There is angst amongst certain workers who think that technology could end up replacing them.  It’s true, human labour is declining with AI, machines and robot technology replacing them. Why? They’re faster, cheaper and ultimately, they’re more productive in the long-run.

Some may see this as a cause for concern, although I’d beg to differ. New technology brings with it new opportunities. Exciting times are waiting on the horizon and it’s up to us to seize the moment. However, each individual has the responsibility to up-skill and to be ready for what’s ahead. And with all that said, the team over at Guthrie Jensen have put together this infographic together, listing the 10 skills you’ll need to thrive in 2020.




What are the uses of MS Excel in the workplace? The list of ways that business uses Microsoft Excel is long. But we’ve broken it down to a top 10 list.

At a basic level, MS Excel is using for storing information, analysing and sorting, and reporting. It’s super popular in business because spreadsheets are highly visual and fairly ease to use.

Some of the most common business uses of MS Excel are for business analysis, managing human resources, performance reporting, and operations management. We know this for a fact after analysing job data (using MS Excel).

1. Business Analysis

The number 1 use of MS Excel in the workplace is to do business analysis.

Business analysis is essentially using collected data to inform decision making. Businesses naturally gather data in their day-to-day activities, which may be data on product sales, website traffic, spending on supplies, insurance claims, etc.

Business analysis is the activity of converting data into something useful to the people who run the business. For example, you could run a profitability report by the day of the week. If the business always loses money on a Sunday, then that’s information management could use to make a decision (such as closing on Sundays).

Job examples: business analyst, business planning analyst, business solutions analyst, claims analyst, collections analyst, credit officer, data analyst, data and audience analyst, finance business analyst, investment operations portfolio analyst, junior data analyst, regional finance analyst, senior data analyst, senior finance analyst, senior portfolio analyst.

2. People Management

You may be surprised to learn that one of the top uses of Excel in business is to manage people.

MS Excel is a powerful way to organise information about people, whether they are employees, customers, supporters, or training attendees.

Using Excel, personal information can be stored and retrieved efficiently. A spreadsheet row or column can be used for an individual record that may include information like name, email address, employee start date, items purchased, subscription status, and last contact.

Job examples: client growth coordinator, client management and administration, client relationship manager, client service manager, client service specialist, employer service consultant, HR administrator, human resources administrative assistant, human resources administrator, human resources adviser, human resources officer, junior HR analyst, reconciliation and payments officer, relationship manager.

3. Managing Operations

Excel is relied on heavily to manage the day-to-day operations of many businesses.

Business activities can often involve quite complicated logistics. Inventory flows need to be controlled so that you can keep operations running smoothly – and without overstocking on particular items. That means keeping track of supplier and client transactions, listing critical dates, and managing times and schedules.

While Amazon uses sophisticated custom software for operations management, MS Excel is an important tool for many smaller businesses (or parts of larger businesses). An advantage of Excel is that it’s relatively low tech, allowing it to be used by many people and without the risk of programming bugs.

Job examples: business operations analyst, data operations manager, graduate program – supply chain and operations, in market supply chain analyst, operational business analyst, operational enablement associate, operational knowledge management specialist, supply chain associate, supply chain specialist.

4. Performance Reporting

Performance monitoring and reporting is a specialised type of business analysis that can be done effectively using MS Excel. For example, many accountants still use Excel (partly because it’s compatible with cloud-based accounting software).

A common way to convert data into a performance report in Excel is to create a pivot table. By inserting a pivot table and linking it to data, you can extra useful information from the dataset quickly. Pivot tables have numerous in-built functions that allow for tasks such as counting and summing certain types of data within the dataset.

Job examples: financial accountant, forecast analyst / sales support, performance analyst, performance analyst – procurement, professional services operations analyst, reporting analyst, reporting development analyst, sales coordinator, sales operations analyst.

5. Office Administration

Office administrators use Excel to enter and store much of the data that’s subsequently used for accounting and financial reporting, as well as business analysis and performance reporting.

Apart from recordkeeping, Excel is useful in office administration for supporting day-to-day tasks such as invoicing, paying bills, and contacting suppliers and clients. It’s an all-purpose tool for keeping track of and managing office activities.

Job examples: administration assistant, administration officer, administration supervisor, administrative assistant, business operations and office manager, junior clerical and administrative officer, office admin manager, office support – maintenance / general duties.

6. Strategic Analysis

With respect to uses of Excel, strategic analysis is where business decisions are closely connected to the data and formulas on spreadsheets. You apply Excel to guide actions such as investments and asset allocations.

As an example, based on an Excel model, you may decide to take out currency insurance. Spreadsheet analysis is designed to inform business decisions in a specific way.

Job examples: asset manager – realty management division, mergers and acquisitions valuations – analyst, membership and campaigns strategist, portfolio administration associate, portfolio analyst, portfolio associate – wealth management, portfolio management officer – asset finance.

7. Project Management

Although project managers have access to purpose-built project management (PM) software, an Excel Workbook is often an effective alternative.

Projects are business activities that typically have a budget and start and end dates. Project plans can be placed into a workbook, which can then be used to track progress and keep the project on schedule.

An advantage of using Excel is that you can easily share the project workbook to others, including to people who are unfamiliar with, or lack access to, custom PM software.

Job examples: project analyst, project assistant / officer (IT), project business analyst.

8. Managing Programs

Excel is a good platform for managing programs. It can be adapted to handle the specific characteristics of a given program. And, because MS Excel is widely known, program records can easily be managed by multiple people and, when the time comes, handed over to a new manager.

A program is like a project, but may be ongoing and can depend on participation by users. MS Excel helps managers allocate resources, keep track of progress, and maintain participant records.

Job examples: event coordinator, learning and development officer, learning and development coordinator, manager – internships, programs and office coordinator, records and results coordinator, training administrator.

9. Contract Administration

Contract administrators like to use MS Excel because it provides a no-fuss means of recording contract details, including dates, milestones, deliverables and payments.

Many different contract management templates are available, and these can be adapted to suit the particular contract type or stage of the contract lifecycle.

Job examples: building contract administrator, contracts administrator, estimator / contracts administrator, graduate contracts administrator, lease administrator, quote and tender administrator.

10. Account Management

Account managers are generally required to be competent MS Excel users since they receive and need to maintain customer records.

The job of an account manager is to nurture relationships with existing clients of the business. Key goals are to achieve customer loyalty and repeat sales. It’s a marketing kind of role and a popular career for MBA graduates.

Excel is commonly used in account management since it provides a simple way to share and maintain client files.

Job examples: account coordinator, advertising manager, design studio account manager, digital account manager, junior account manager.

Why You Need Excel Skills in Business

If this list hasn’t convinced you already, MS Excel skills are very useful in the workplace.

Not all jobs use Excel and those that do are often considered ‘middle skill‘ jobs. However, Excel is widely used. Having good spreadsheet skills therefore gives you the ability to work on all sorts of different tasks. And you can more easily get value out of information that’s being shared in workbooks.

Once you know how to use Excel, you’ll find yourself using it more and more. It’s an accessible platform that can be used to do both simple and highly sophisticated business tasks.


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