Few weeks ago, I participated in a Q&A session with students from my business school about jobs in Finance. One of the most asked questions was about the qualities needed to be a good finance professional.

In this article, I share my view on the key skills and qualities to have when you want to work in Finance and how they bring value to your organization:

  • Accounting knowledge: knowing how to read financial statements and how the business activity is translated in the general ledger of a company, should be mandatory for every individual wanting to have a career in finance. This is even true for people wanting to go in the direction of financial planning and controlling. For example, one needs to understand how the capitalization of assets like WIP or a change in a provision can have a direct impact on the P&L.
  • Business acumen: finance is involved with many different departments and through different types of operation. Being able to understand these transactions and their financial treatment is what is expected from you by your business partners. For example, you need to be able to evaluate how delays of deliveries to a client can affect your revenues (this is the case if you have a liquidated damages clause in your terms and conditions with your client).
  • Analytical skills: the amount of data and information is constantly increasing. As a finance professional, this translates into a need for you to be better at understanding the big picture and identify what this information means for your organization. The better you can digest it and the faster you can communicate actionable knowledge to your peers and partners the more valuable you are for your company.
  • Business partnering: in a company, finance is a support function. What does it mean for you? You should see yourself as a service provider and you should see your business partners from other departments as your (internal) clients. Ask for feedback and put yourself in your business partner’s shoes to optimize the way your provide the best service you can.
  • IT and Data literacy: transformation is everywhere and digitalization plays a significant role to achieve this transformation. Today mastering Excel and knowing how to use an ERP is a minimum… but being able to program RPA (robotic process automation) software or create an automated report from a BI tool will give you much more opportunities and will help you to secure a position in innovative finance teams.

Let me know in the comments which qualities do you think are the most important for finance professionals.

Do not hesitate to share this article to somebody starting his career in finance.

Thank you for reading

Nicolas Boucher

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