Archive
LINKEDIN
October 12, 2017 |
:::

Communication Skills for Accountants

:::

Ric Jazaie has given presentations throughout his career to senior leadership at the CIA, FBI, in judicial proceedings, and at his own Forensic Accounting practice. “You are always presenting as an accountant to large and small groups and communicating with people one-on-one. The era of the guy in the green visor and the lamp is over,” he says.

Accountants and auditors communicate daily with their clients and constituents. Jazaie says: “Communication skills, analytical skills, and critical thinking are the most important skills accountants can possess and develop—in that order. Clients look to us for answers to help clients achieve their goals.”

Jazaie has used his communication skills to influence successful prosecutions of terrorist financiers as an FBI agent/analyst, loan servicing companies at the FBI, and even small Bay Area nonprofits as the head of a consulting firm. Students get a direct pipeline to these techniques in Jazaie’s Communication and Analysis of Financial Information for Accountants course.

“One of my students in the communications class came back from an interview at a Big Four accounting firm,” he says. “He told me that he asked the interviewers what they seek in a candidate. They said critical-thinking skills and communication. He could put a tangible work product from the communication class on the table and discuss those principles. They were very impressed. He was beyond himself with excitement.”

We asked Jazaie to list his 10 most important communication skills:

  • Storytelling: “You want to get your audience excited and tell them a story. The presentation should be as interesting as hearing about an interesting first date from a friend. Tell the story through your analysis of financial information.”
  • Eye Contact: “For example, when you answer a question in court, you turn and look directly at the jurors in the eyes. They love that.”
  • Be Credible: “If you are asked a question, it’s OK to say, ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I took a different approach.’ Never, ever, lie about the facts. Our credibility in this profession is of utmost importance.”
  • Understand their point of view: “It is also important to be an active listener and hear the other points of views in a discussion with the people you are presenting to.”
  • Pace Yourself: “Your audience, especially a jury, needs time to process the information so you don’t need to talk quickly.”
  • Clear visuals: “Accountants for the prosecution on a grand jury were able to make a two-slide presentation that connected essential numbers (slide one) to the law (slide two). They proved that the prosecution had a strong case.”
  • Communicate the solution: “Clients that hire auditors/accountants want to know what controls should be in place to prevent fraud. You need to have a simple answer.”
  • Be friendly: “Your audience, whether clients or jurors, want to see a friendly and generally happy accountant. Your audience will not respond well to you when they see an angry and argumentative person in front of  them.”
  • Confidence: “It is important to be confident when you present. Confidence does not mean arrogance. In fact, to the contrary, a confident accountant is one who has done his or her homework and is prepared to respond to questions.”
  • Feedback: “Being able to appropriately give and receive feedback is an important communication skill.”

Before job interviews or professional presentations, students must get past Jazaie as an audience. When they present their analyses and recommendations to the class, he deducts points for loss of eye contact and wants to see them apply what they learned from his experience. He says: “They need to make mistakes at GGU because at the Big Four they expect you to be a pro by the time you get there.”

Jazaie continuously looks for ways to provide his students with constructive feedback during and after presentations: “Giving feedback involves giving praise as well – something as simple as saying ‘good job’ or ‘thanks for such a great presentation’ to a student can greatly increase motivation.” Jazaie’s students have impressed him with their ability to apply what he teaches: “They continue to amaze me with their creativity and analysis of difficult financial information and their ability to present their points of views.”

One-On-One

Communicating one-on-one is crucial to audits and investigations. By taking the attitude of a helper, a series of conversations can make a difference. “The process of Forensic Accounting is to keep turning rocks until you run out of rocks. Then you look for patterns in the soil. Then you find another rock. Somewhere in there you find your next lead. That’s where the excitement is. Forensic accounting is like solving a large jigsaw puzzle. That is, you have clues everywhere, but you have to think logically and methodically and try to fit the pieces perfectly to build the bigger picture.”

Ric Jazaie has a master’s degree in accounting from Golden Gate University (’15) with a concentration in forensic accounting.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons

During the COVID-19 pandemic, GGU moved all classes and services online. But did you know that GGU has been offering online classes to students since 1993? Instructional designer Kate Hance joined GGU in 1999 and reflects on how online courses have changed. 🖥️

"GGU started really early with online learning and instructional design long before most institutions. The ability to collaborate on a virtual white board wasn’t there 20 years ago! It’s a lot easier now for students to work, collaborate, and create content together. Communication used to be more difficult because you would have to use chat boards. With the advent of Zoom, instant messaging, and more responsiveness in online classes, we can focus on the social connection and the collaborative work that helps everyone understand the concepts they are learning. 👩🏿‍💻 👨🏿‍💻

The online program has always reached students who wouldn’t be able to go back to school without these flexible technology-supported options that allowed them to get a degree, improve their life, and do something that they didn’t have the opportunity to do before. For me, that’s the real purpose of technology, to meet people where they are and help people meet their own goals." 🎓
... See MoreSee Less

During the COVID-19 pandemic, GGU moved all classes and services online. But did you know that GGU has been offering online classes to students since 1993? Instructional designer Kate Hance joined GGU in 1999 and reflects on how online courses have changed. 🖥️

GGU started really early with online learning and instructional design long before most institutions. The ability to collaborate on a virtual white board wasn’t there 20 years ago! It’s a lot easier now for students to work, collaborate, and create content together. Communication used to be more difficult because you would have to use chat boards. With the advent of Zoom, instant messaging, and more responsiveness in online classes, we can focus on the social connection and the collaborative work that helps everyone understand the concepts they are learning.  👩🏿‍💻 👨🏿‍💻

The online program has always reached students who wouldn’t be able to go back to school without these flexible technology-supported options that allowed them to get a degree, improve their life, and do something that they didn’t have the opportunity to do before. For me, that’s the real purpose of technology, to meet people where they are and help people meet their own goals. 🎓

Comment on Facebook

I was the beneficiary of GGU’s online learning technology investments when I was pursuing my M.S. in Integrated Marketing Communication (2011-2013). So grateful to have been able to learn from GGU’s wonderful professors while still working full time - and living all the way in Indiana!

เคยไปยืนมองอยู่ตรงนี้เมื่อ10ปีที่แล้ว คิดถึงจัง❤️❤️

Join the GGU Military team Wednesdays at 1PM for live webinars covering some of the most frequently asked questions from current and prospective students and applicants. We’ll answer any questions you have about VA education benefits, student and veteran resources, and transitioning from service to school. We hope to see you there! 💻 ow.ly/8XQy50GcbLU ... See MoreSee Less

Join the GGU Military team Wednesdays at 1PM for live webinars covering some of the most frequently asked questions from current and prospective students and applicants. We’ll answer any questions you have about VA education benefits, student and veteran resources, and transitioning from service to school. We hope to see you there! 💻 http://ow.ly/8XQy50GcbLU

USAID worked with Mindanao State University-General Santos Campus, Palawan State University, and Ateneo De Zamboanga University to establish an Urban Development Learning Program that will enhance the skills and knowledge of local urban planning experts by linking the practical experience of local government with the technical expertise of these universities. From July to August 2021, USAID and GGU hosted separate workshops to align the curriculum of each partner university to the needs of their respective local governments and set concrete steps for short to long-term implementation. Congrats to GGU and USAID on this exciting collaboration! 📣 🌎 ... See MoreSee Less

Join us for the next F-1 Immigration Regulation Focused Session on Monday, Sept. 13! We'll talk all about employment authorization options for F-1 Students. Join us on Zoom. Meeting ID: 978 7756 2460, Passcode: GGUINT 💻 🌎 ... See MoreSee Less

Join us for the next F-1 Immigration Regulation Focused Session on Monday, Sept. 13! Well talk all about employment authorization options for F-1 Students. Join us on Zoom. Meeting ID: 978 7756 2460, Passcode: GGUINT 💻 🌎

Welcome to the first week of classes! To kick off the Fall semester the Career Center has partnered with Intro30 to bring you Virtual Networking in the Real World. Representatives from Intro30 will give advice on how to connect to people through a virtual setting.

For more information, login to your GGU Careers account or contact careers@ggu.edu. No RSVP required to attend. 👩🏾‍💻👨🏿‍💻
... See MoreSee Less

Welcome to the first week of classes! To kick off the Fall semester the Career Center has partnered with Intro30 to bring you Virtual Networking in the Real World. Representatives from Intro30 will give advice on how to connect to people through a virtual setting.

For more information, login to your GGU Careers account or contact careers@ggu.edu. No RSVP required to attend. 👩🏾‍💻👨🏿‍💻
Load more