Wide skill set required in financial sector

Accounting and finance professionals have to acquire a wide base of skills to be a good candidate for recruitment or career progression, according to a recent Robert Half Management Resources survey.

As technology develops, the roles of these individuals have changed and they are now required to offer advice and support to business executives as well. More than 2,000 US Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) were polled on how important these skills are for accounting and finance employees.

While the results weren't surprising, it does offer insight into what direction the industry is heading and what skills will be useful for candidates and employees.

Close to half (46 per cent) of respondents indicated business skills was mandatory for some positions and 22 per cent said it was nice to have, but not compulsory. Just 15 per cent responded that the skills absolutely necessary for everyone, while 16 per cent thought they wasn't needed or was rarely important.

Paul McDonald, senior executive director for Robert Half, explained that accounting and financial information is critical to everyday functions, so professionals should be able to interpret this data comprehensively.

"Firms increasingly rely on their financial teams to deliver strategic guidance and data-driven recommendations. This demand will only accelerate as companies are able to tap into greater volumes of information," he said.

"Business analytics is a rapidly changing area that is constantly experiencing new demands from companies. Staying current with emerging data and software trends and continuing industry-related training is career insurance."

To offer training opportunities for professionals to enhance their skills, businesses can begin by installing productivity or payroll software in the organisation.

As this will streamline operations, professionals will have time to attend external courses and mentorships to widen their skills set. It will then be important for businesses to work hard to retain this talent for the future.

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