Having a successful career in finance isn’t just about scoring a 4.0 in college. You need to have other things in your toolkit to reach the top of the profession. Below is the low-down on skills you need to accelerate your finance career. Keep in mind that if you’re still in school, there is plenty of financial aid available in the form of accounting and finance scholarships.
Formal Accounting Designation
Having breathtaking talent and experience in the real world can be sufficient to land a dream job in many fields. But a finance career is governed by rigorous standards and processes, so it helps to have experience in accounting.
Even better, if you become a Certified Management Accountant or Certified Professional Accountant, you’ll demonstrate you have the accounting chops to handle almost any finance job out there.
Strong Interpersonal Skills
There was a day when professionals in finance were squirreled away in their cubicles all day and barely came up for air. Those days are over.
Now, any notion that a finance career is merely crunching numbers is gone. Today, most finance positions require employees to interface with clients and other stakeholders every day.
You must have the soft skills to build a productive relationship with clients if you want to move up in the field. When your employer is considering two candidates, the one with better speaking skills is often the leader.
Skills in financial reporting are necessary today, especially in the growing superforecasting area. But finding job candidates with excellent financial forecasting skills can be challenging. Financial candidates who want a leg up on the competition would be smart to show their financial reporting chops in their next interview.
IT Software Knowledge
More automation and digitization in the global marketplace means more HR managers want to see that you have effective Internet technology skills to sit down on day one and operate new financial systems.
Job candidates who show understanding and proficiency in automation in accounts payable SAP accounting tools, and predictive analytics always find themselves getting multiple job offers.
Accounting and finance may seem to be all about systems and routines, but that doesn’t mean you cannot be an innovator and change agent.
Whether you’ve come up with a new method to collect data that boosts productivity or a financial recording process that enhances accuracy, innovative candidates are often the ones getting same-day employment offers.
It’s not vital to be an experienced manager, but it helps if a company is hiring a financial professional for a newly-created job. If you’ve shown that you can manage finance teams, you’re likely to land a leadership role soon.
It’s not enough to have impeccable knowledge of financial processes and systems. You also need to have the knowledge and confidence to tackle knotty problems as they come to the fore.
Whether it’s handling the financial aspects of a merger and acquisition or devising a solution for a big client’s tax headaches, a demonstrated record of solving finance problems will see your career rocket upward.
Financial professionals need to grasp how marketplace demands and a firm’s fiscal behavior influence each other. If you can demonstrate commercial understanding and interest in economic trends changing the industry, you’ll be well ahead of others.
Having these skills in your toolkit as a financial professional will ensure that you have the best job opportunities possible.