A Week's Worth: Quick takes on the world of work and money.

Customer data breaches, accountants with interpersonal skills wanted, executives prefer e-mail to face-to-face communication.

A jittery Wall Street finished the week mixed after news of a steep decline in new home sales and turmoil in Pakistan.

Companies lose customer data more often than many imagine. Larry Ponemon, a security and privacy expert with the Ponemon Institute, says "data loss and theft is a pervasive problem in all organizations." A Ponemon survey conducted with Deloitte & Touche LLP found that 85 percent of security experts for North American companies acknowledged at least one breach in 2007.

When chief financial officers were asked if they'd be willing to hire finance and accounting candidates with fewer technical skills but stronger interpersonal abilities, the answer was clearly yes. Fifty-three percent of those polled by Robert Half Management Resources, a provider of senior-level accounting and financial professionals, expressed that opinion. Communication skills are increasingly important because of the field's growing visibility.

The popularity of e-mail among corporate executives for communicating at the office is striking, with 65 percent favoring it compared with only 31 percent for face-to-face meetings. OfficeTeam, a staffing service, established this preference in a recent survey. Executives like e-mail because it facilitates keeping a record of "conversations" and helps in obtaining project updates.

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