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10 skills propelling finance functions forward
While finance functions including accounting, tax, and treasury, still require the core skills of a well-trained and qualified professional, market changes and the evolution of technology have caused shifts in the most in-demand skills amongst our clients. Speaking to employers and professionals every day, our expert consultants have identified the 10 hottest skills and competencies that will be crucial for businesses in the finance sector throughout.
1. Intercompany transactions
In addition to the core skills needed to run an effective finance function, professionals with knowledge and experience in managing intercompany transactions, including those involving joint ventures, are highly prized. Ensuring that there is a central team with standardised global policies will be key to support any new regulatory processes that arise in 2019.
2. Stakeholder engagement
Gone are the days where the finance team simply operated as a back-office function. Stakeholder engagement is now key for any finance professional to ensure visibility within the business, help improve compliance, and manage efficient processes through better understanding. This might simply be boosting the awareness around costs within the operational side of the business. Processes can only be improved through the proper management of stakeholders and ensuring that they are engaged with the purpose of the finance team.
3. Effective communication
As stakeholder engagement is key for finance professionals, it goes without saying that the ability to communicate effectively, negotiate, and influence, are also crucial skills. This goes beyond simply speaking clearly and actively listening to the business' needs. Being able to explain the more complex processes of finance in layman's terms, is a skill in its own right, and with finance professionals now being required to engage more with the wider business, it will become increasingly important.
4. Technical accounting
The skills of talented technical accountants will become increasingly sought after. Performing a key role in any finance department, these types of professionals are responsible for many of the day-to-day tasks within the accounting function and are fundamental to the successful running of an organisation. They will be key in navigating new regulations, business processes, and unprecedented challenges.
5. M&A experience
Looking forward, it is predicted that the number of cross-border M&As will rise over the next few years. Professionals with in-depth strategic planning knowledge, as well as an analytical mind, and attention to detail are key here.
6. Finance regulations knowhow
Keeping up-to-date with the finance regulation changes that are on the horizon, safeguards against financial instability and economic losses for your company. As new rules are brought in and updates are made to existing regulations in order to effectively govern the ever-evolving financial sector of today, it is key to stay on top of the changes.
7. Audit project management
Audits remain a fundamental aspect of a successful finance department. As new regulations are brought in and penalties for failing to adhere to correct policies and procedures increase, internal audits play a crucial role to help minimise risk and ensure compliance. As this process requires a great deal of attention to detail and organisation, it is highly beneficial for firms to employ someone to manage an audit in its entirety. Professionals who are competent in managing these audits are key in determining whether a business has met the agreed goals and objectives.
8. Specialist finance knowledge (Tax, Treasury etc.)
The core finance functions that make up the finance department are fundamental to any business. This is why specialist knowledge and experience within the core areas are vital. Employers are always seeking skilled professionals who can bring a deeper level of understanding and insight into their finance team.
9. Relevant finance qualifications
Qualifications remain crucial within the financial sector. Depending on the specific area of finance, a relevant certification of competency will be essential to operate within the field. For the core areas including treasury, tax, and audit, to name a few, a degree-level qualification is mandatory. For an accountant, this will vary but may include ACA, ACCA or CMA.
A comprehensive understanding of the business and knowledge of competitors, is essential. This deeper level of insight is important for actuarial, retail banking, and insurance roles as it enables professionals to more accurately price and run a commercial project, one that covers costs and yields a positive return. Professionals who possess a high level of commercial awareness should be able to identify the reasons why a company is performing well or not.
As leading recruiters with a global network, we have an extensive database of top talented professionals to take your business to the next level, helping you to stay ahead of the competition.