3 skills to improve employability for finance and accounting professionals

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It’s a tough jobs market at the moment but finance and accounting professionals can get the edge by focusing on three key areas: influencing, facilitating growth and – of course – those core finance and accountancy skills.

If you work on these areas and, then, present the examples as strongly as possible on your CV, companies will want to hire you.


Influencing skills

Although the necessary technical skills are of course a mandatory requirement for any finance role, finance and accountancy professionals can really set themselves apart from their peers with their ‘softer’ skills. While fitting in with the culture of the organisation is considered important, what many companies really want at the moment is finance and accounting professionals with the ability to engage with other key people in the business, and most importantly, the knack of convincing others of your arguments.

Businesses want finance and accounting professionals who can build strong relationships and present the finance function in a credible manner – so rather than hide behind emails, get out from behind your desk and be the sort of person who would rather seek buy-in from management and co-workers by speaking to people face-to-face.

Businesses want finance and accounting professionals who can build strong relationships and present the finance function in a credible manner.

If this doesn’t come naturally, just try it, keep practising and you’ll soon improve. Forcing yourself out of your comfort zone little by little will make a big impact. Don’t forget, you can always develop your influencing skills by asking your manager to send you on a relevant training course.

Forward thinking

Given that the ability to identify growth opportunities is so valuable in the current market, businesses in all sectors have been focusing on hiring forward-thinking finance and accounting professionals who can make recommendations for future business success.

Developing this skill in your existing job will therefore stand you in good stead - hiring managers are looking for finance and accounting professionals who can demonstrate specific examples of where and how they have helped facilitate growth in their own business areas.

Core accounting skills

Employers still place a significant emphasis on core technical skills and finance professionals need to be strong in this area to secure a job at the moment. This has been evident with a lot of the jobs becoming available recently – in particular, financial controllers are being hired by plcs and SMEs, while management accountants are also being recruited at the newly-qualified to 2 - 3 years’ PQE level.

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