Investment services, banks, and accounting companies need finance experts to advance their businesses. They are always on the lookout for savvy and motivated employees. So if you want to land a job in the finance sector, you need to demonstrate that you have a head for numbers and an appetite for information. Even after getting hired, you will have to constantly prove that you are better than your counterparts to advance to the next level.
Provided the stiff competition, you must develop your star potential before getting a shot. Here are a few skills that will ensure a thriving career in finance:
Most college-going individuals focus on mastering technical skills. It stands particularly true for the data-heavy disciplines such as financing and accounting. There is no getting away from the fact that hard skills like math crunching and financial modeling are very important. But they could eventually become meaningless without the ability to communicate effectively.
Typically, financial reports are presented and discussed in small-group settings such as conventions and conferences. As it turns out, most people do not understand the intricacies of finance. So keeping them engaged requires the financial team members, such as a CPA, to break down the complex information in an engaging way. High-level communication skills are also essential for persuading decision-makers to support a plan or initiative, even when speaking to them one-on-one over coffee or lunch. No wonder why many companies give communication skills a top priority when outlining CPA requirements for a job.
Good communication starts with finding the right balance. Provide just enough information to make your point, but not so much that it becomes a dull piece of rhetoric. Also, make sure you have clarity about what you want to convey before you start speaking or writing.
- Budgeting And Forecasting
Among other things, the core responsibilities of the finance department include devising a budget, keeping tabs on spending, and forecasting future costs and cash flow. Therefore, finance professionals should know how to stay on top of these tasks using contemporary tools and methods. The majority of employers will also want you to have a strong background in financial modeling, more so if you are applying for a senior-level position.
- Relationship Management
Working with many stakeholders and cultivating productive working relationships is now an essential part of any financial professional’s job. Finance teams are no longer just there to simply run the back office. Modern-day organizations expect them to build and manage strong relationships in the entire company.
For example, finance experts can contribute to better compliance and more effective operations by increasing awareness about operational costs. If you want to stay on top of relationship management, you must have a knack for understanding diverse personality characteristics, listening, asking the correct questions, resolving disagreements, and educating others.
When it comes to closing a sale or managing expectations, businesses must know how to stand up for themselves without causing a fuss or upsetting anyone. Failure to negotiate successfully can result in frustration among employees and vendors. Or, in the worst-case scenario, revenue loss for a corporation. Negotiation skills can help financial professionals come to a mutually beneficial deal. If you can demonstrate strong negotiation skills, you will have an advantage in the financial world.
Not many people are born with negotiation traits. But the good news is that you can nurture this skill along the way. Just like with any other skill, practice can make you a better negotiator. Before negotiating, run over what you intend to say and how you will respond to counterarguments. This will allow you to enter the discussion armed with practical solutions and also help you to maintain composure.
- Technology Proficiency
Technology’s role in destroying and creating jobs has been the subject of intense discussion for quite some time now. When it comes to agriculture, telecommunications, and transportation, technological advancements have had an enormous impact on economic development. The latest technology has eliminated obsolete methods of doing business and come up with innovative ways to engage in business operations. Recent technological developments have also disrupted the financial sector. Results? Time-consuming procedures have become a breeze, marking a drastic uptick in the bottom line.
Professionals in the financial industry must prioritize developing their technological competencies. This means they must have a thorough understanding of the high-end software. You can begin with something as basic as Microsoft Excel. Even if you may not use Excel daily, knowing how to read and analyze spreadsheet data is still important. At the very least, you must be familiar with the software’s basic functions, such as sorting, filtering, and formulas. Once you get your head around excel, you can gradually work your way to learning advanced technical skills.
- Data Analytics
Over time, data analytics has gone from a nice-to-have skill to a necessity. Because of the widespread use of big data in the financial sector, many companies now look for financial professionals with excellent data analytics skills. Be it the investment, equity research, or banking sector; data analytics has made its way into every domain.
Nowadays, finance executives are involved in the decision-making process. Thus, you should be well-versed in transforming enormous data into succinct, decision-driving insights. The current popularity of data analytics indicates that it will be difficult to secure a position in the finance sector in the near future that pays well without having solid data analytics skills.
- Problem Solving
The most sought-after financial professionals are the ones with problem-solving skills. It is because when a company faces an issue, it almost always leads to financial consequences. Remember, there is no such thing as a typical day in the world of finance.
So it is crucial to be able to deal with complex financial issues as they emerge. Employers rely heavily on their finance team for smooth navigation, whether they are stuck in their own financial woes or those of a customer.
It takes more than just top-notch academic credentials to have a successful career in finance. In other words, when looking for a job in finance, it is not always about what you know but what you can bring to the table. Make sure you add work on these seven skills to prepare yourself for any financial role.