Financial Skill Set Requirements Are Changing. Here’s How to Keep Up

June 28, 2022

With each passing year, the financial industry becomes faster, more digitally integrated, and more secure. In a world where cloud storage, blockchain, and even artificial intelligence are making their way into daily processes of financial firms, it takes a competent and advanced professional to command a high wage or manage a team.

As a working professional trying to handle the tasks currently on your plate, you cannot be expected to learn a new coding language every year in order to stay relevant. However, upskilling and refining your abilities can be achieved with a little focus and intention. As the requirements and expectations change over time, here are some initiatives you can pursue in any finance or accounting job that will ensure you are a value-add.

1. Become Proficient in at Least One Accounting Software

JD Edwards. Net Suite. SAP. Oracle. Hyperion. Sage. Quickbooks. Accounting software has become ubiquitous over the years, and every modern accountant has at least some interaction with these programs on a regular basis.

As the market grows and changes, every business will still need qualified workers who can handle the books today. One of the simplest ways to stand out and add value, especially in an accounting job, is to master the accounting software used by your firm. If it’s one of the programs listed above, good news: they aren’t going away anytime soon. Spend some time mastering the navigation of the program, and you will be able to confidently speak about your experience in your next interview, as well as make an immediate impact in a new role.

2. Know Your Way Around Excel

Financial professionals are justifiably expected to have a good handle on the numbers. Excel is one of the most underutilized tools when it comes to performing complex calculations, visually interpreting data sets, and summarizing sets to form conclusions. If you have been putting off your Excel upskilling for the past few years, now is the time to bone up. This program has been and will continue to be a staple of any finance or accounting job for the foreseeable future.

In addition to basic functions, learn how to:

  • Use vlookup
  • Create pivot tables
  • Create charts and graphs from data sets
  • Make the spreadsheet readable and visually appealing

The gap between inexperienced and proficient in Excel is surprisingly small. A few minutes here and there will compound over time to help you become the Excel guru on your team. There is always room for one of those.

3. Hone the Skills That Will Never Go Out of Style

In the finance and accounting business, certain traits will continue to differentiate the good from the best, regardless of the technological landscape or market conditions. Those who can perform well in the below skills will always have a seat at the table.

  • Basic Accounting. Being able to track and manage financial transactions through the appropriate statements is a necessity for every business under the sun. These skills are foundational for other applications such as modeling and reporting.
  • Financial Modeling. Extrapolating data from past scenarios to form forecasts and cost estimates for the future is a skill that sets certain candidates apart. The effectiveness of a model can be a huge asset for a firm.
  • Cash Flow Management. Tracking the business’ funds in a detailed and regimented manner allows for strategic growth planning.
  • Data Management. Every firm has enormous amounts of data. Being able to dissect and digest it to produce meaningful takeaways is incredibly useful. If you can be trusted to understand the data, you will always be a valuable member of the team.
  • Analytical Skills. On a softer skill note, being able to apply the analytical style of thinking that characterizes finance and accounting jobs to non-quantitative scenarios is key. Those professionals who can step outside the numbers and evaluate situations analytically are in high demand.
  • Business Acumen. A real difference maker. Who will rise to leadership often comes down to interpersonal and business sense. Make an effort to understand how your business fits into the marketplace and how its status can be improved or optimized.

Find The Right Finance or Accounting Job in Pittsburgh

With the right tools and the right partners, you can set up your career for success. The executive search team at Pinnacle specializes in sourcing the most sought-after finance and accounting jobs Pittsburgh has to offer. We strive to do right by our clients and candidates, every time.

Our comprehensive executive search process will help ensure a lasting, mutually beneficial fit between you and your future employer. We will put you and your career aspirations first, from start to finish. Contact us today to start moving in the right direction.

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