To create an environment conducive to attracting and retaining top talent in the accounting and finance industry, you’ll have to provide more than a competitive salary.
It’s a candidate’s market. Candidates with top finance and accounting skills want to be paid well for their time, but they want benefits that will help them create a quality work-life balance. Meaningful job perks can sway top talent’s decision of where and for whom to work. Today’s candidates also consider a variety of factors that can influence their job and career decisions. They recognize that the work location and time spent commuting can impact not only their work but also their lives away from the job.
Candidates want hiring managers to have clear plans for onboarding and illustrating career advancement opportunities.
Many candidates report that the work environment is the most significant factor in selecting where to work.
Career growth in finance and accounting requires adapting and learning new skills. That being said, there are some crucial finance and accounting skills that any candidate should have.
From the perspective of those pursuing a finance career, knowing the necessary skills helps you improve and market yourself. You can work on these skills and find more job opportunities.
From the perspective of a finance firm, knowing what skills to look for will help you find the best candidates.
With that in mind, explore some of the most important skills in accounting and finance. Keep in mind that the specific skills will depend on your job title, but the following are helpful or essential for most roles.
Understanding and Analyzing Financial Data
It should come as no surprise that anyone in finance or accounting should be able to understand as well as analyze financial data. This should be taught to undergraduates, but that is not always the case.
Some of this ability comes down to financial analysis skills. However, analyzing financial data also requires:
- Understanding the functions of other departments
- Understanding the company’s services or products
- Understanding the services and products of vendors
- Not only analyzing the numbers but also being able to apply the analysis to the company’s activities
Knowledge of Financial Best Practices
Traditional education will teach some of the financial best practices, but many of these are gained via experience.
Candidates can work on these skills by paying close attention during training and asking more experienced team members when they have doubts. Most importantly, new accountants should strictly follow the company policies. Doing so will automatically ensure you are following best practices.
Financial companies can also take note. Create strict policies following financial best practices. This will help your employees develop the necessary skills.
Specialization in Addition to General Knowledge of Finance and Accounting Skills
General knowledge and experience in accounting allow candidates to take on a range of roles. This increases their job opportunities.
However, specialized experience and training provide a unique advantage. For example, maybe you will specialize in revenue recognition. Or perhaps you will specialize in regulatory compliance, such as KYC (Know Your Customer) and AML (Anti-Money Laundering).
The specialization allows accountants to stand out from the competition in either case. It can also lead to a higher salary.
Staying Up-to-date With Technology
As technology advances, those in finance and accounting must stay up-to-date with the latest relevant tech in the industry.
The following are just some types of technology candidates should be familiar with:
- Advanced Excel skills
- Big data analysis and SQL
- Enterprise resource planning
- Microsoft Visual Basic
- Business intelligence software
By learning what skills recruiters look for, those searching for finance or accounting careers can stand out from the competition. On the other side of the spectrum, companies recruiting candidates can find the top talent by knowing which skills to prioritize.