Adapt to Grow

July 19, 2016

Canadian CFOs Reveal Top Three Attributes for Professional Success

Toronto, ON. (July 19, 2016) – What does it take to achieve an illustrious career? According to a new survey by staffing firm Accountemps, 31 per cent of Canadian CFOs polled said the ability to adapt easily to change is the most necessary characteristic for getting ahead, followed by having a motivation to learn (29 per cent) and strong interpersonal skills (23 per cent). Perhaps a sign that change really is the only constant, these results are consistent with a 2002 study, when CFOs also cited adaptability to change as the key to success.


“Successful individuals know that growth is often synonymous with change,” said Dianne Hunnam-Jones, Canadian president of Accountemps. “In a world that’s moving quickly, professional success is dependent on being open to learning new skills in order to adapt and excel in evolving business environments.” 

Hunnam-Jones added that strong interpersonal skills remain essential. “Demonstrating how you can clearly communicate complex information and strategies will set you apart when being considered for career advancement and leadership potential.”

Employees would be glad to know that only four per cent of CFOs cited working long hours as a success strategy.  

“Longer hours don’t always equate to greater productivity,” noted Hunnam-Jones. “Managers should help set realistic schedules by defining priorities and creating a collaborative team culture in which workers feel supported and encouraged.”  


CFOs were asked, “Which one of the following characteristics do you consider most necessary for an employee to succeed?” Their responses:





Adapts easily to change



Motivated to learn new skills



Strong interpersonal skills



Welcomes increased responsibility



Willing to work long hours








​Accountemps offers five tips for career advancement:


  1. Join industry associations. Often, these groups offer training courses and seminars to help you acquire new skills and keep informed of trends affecting your industry or profession.
  2. Volunteer your expertise. Nonprofits can benefit from your guidance, and you may be given opportunities to grow and learn in return. 
  3. Further your education. An advanced degree or certification in your industry demonstrates your desire to learn and reinforces your expertise in your field.
  4. Perfect your communication skills. Pay attention to details when you communicate. Observe your body language, make eye contact, listen fully to what the other person has to say and rehearse before communicating to important audiences. Professional organizations like Toastmasters provide myriad resources to improve your public speaking skills.
  5. Think about the big picture. The most effective leaders always keep long-term plans in mind. Adopting a similar mindset can help you make more strategic decisions and better position yourself for a promotion.


About the Research
The survey was conducted by an independent research firm. It includes responses from more than 270 CFOs from a stratified random sample of companies in Canada.


About Accountemps
Accountemps, a Robert Half company, is the world’s first and largest specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. The staffing firm has more than 325 offices worldwide. More resources, including online job search services, can be found at Follow us at and @RobertHalf_CAN on Twitter for additional workplace news and hiring trends.

For further information contact: Naz Araghian, (416) 865-2140, [email protected]