Under the current skills-short climate, finance professionals need to find ways to stand out more than they ever have before. Core finance skills are still the most needed as almost half (43%) of accountancy and finance employers surveyed in the Hays Salary and Recruiting Trends 2019 guide told us, but staff with skills beyond the technical skillset will be the ones to progress the fastest. So what are the unlikely skills in accountancy and finance which will help get you noticed?
Engage your creative side
As the emergence of workplace technology continues to adapt and evolve roles in finance, it is innate, human skills, such as our creativity, which remain the most valuable. These skills cannot be borrowed, replicated or programmed by a machine, thus will remain unaffected by automation. We can expect demand for creative professionals across all sectors to rise just as technology and AI will continue to do. In fact, it is automation that will drive the increased need for us humans to be even more innovative!
The value of creativity for finance roles lies in the art of problem solving, strategizing and coming up with innovative ideas that will drive the finance division and indeed commercial operations of a business forward. Although for many finance professionals technical and numerical skills perhaps come more naturally than creative ones, the importance of taking a creative approach to your work shouldn’t be underestimated. Finance staff can begin engaging their creative side by revaluating their routine and questioning whether their current set-up allows them to be engaged, inquisitive and innovative both inside and outside of work.
Communicate your ideas and intentions
Maintaining a creative approach to your work is certainly beneficial in finance, but creativity is ill-spent if you don’t possess the ability to communicate it effectively. Finance professionals who are good communicators are the ones who can not only bring an innovative idea to the table, but then can actually ensure it has a proper value-add impact on the business. Employers seek professionals who can keep discussions on-task and professional, who listen to employees and respect other’s ideas.
Communication skills are vital for finance staff to work successfully with their customers and clients as well as with internal colleagues. They need to have the ability to build positive relationships with customers and clients who will have different requirements and maintain clear channels of communication. Practice strong communication by being clear and concise, and understanding when to focus on detail or keep it brief and to the point.
A proactive approach to learning
A willingness to learn is one of the most well-regarded soft skills in the world of work today. Hiring managers across all disciplines want candidates to be proactive and take the initiative to continuously develop themselves and their career. According to our research, career development and CPD was the most important benefit for 15% of accountancy and finance staff, indicating that this cohort are committed to their learning and development.
Maintaining a willingness to learn will be crucial to keep up with emerging Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Process Automation in the finance sector. Take advantage of learning and development opportunities inside and outside of work as well as keeping up to date with news and movements in financial markets. While at work, seek customer feedback and stay up to date with what your competition are doing to benefit your learning also. It can be difficult to know the right approach to take when it comes to your professional learning, but being proactive, as well as honing your creative side and brushing up your communication skills, are essential to becoming a more rounded professional who stands out from the crowd.
About Karen Young
Karen Young, Director, Hays Senior Finance
Karen is a Director and recruiting expert at Hays Accountancy & Finance. She provides strategic leadership to a team of 400 accountancy and finance recruitment professionals across 100 UK offices. With 20 years of finance recruitment experience, Karen has a track record of recruiting top finance talent for businesses across a range of industry sectors, and is a trusted industry voice on career planning and market insights.