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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.

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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.