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High Demand Skills in Accounting & Finance

Author: Moe Harrison /Wednesday, October 09, 2013/Categories: SNI Companies, SNI Financial, SNI Certes, Accounting Now

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One of the most rewarding parts of our job is finding that “right fit” for our candidates. In most cases, folks have a pretty clear idea about what they have not enjoyed in their current or previous positions, and what they want in their next one. While it is important to know what you are looking for in a new job, I often encourage candidates to also consider their skills from the employer’s perspective. Candidates should really think about how their skills align with an employer’s desired skill set and do some selective “shopping” for the right match.

Employers within the accounting and finance industry require a specific mix of personal and technical skills. We typically tell candidates to assume that everyone the client meets will be able to technically perform the job duties at a similar level. Therefore, who gets hired depends heavily on the non-technical or secondary skills match. Whether you are looking for a job as a Financial Analyst, an Accounting Manager or a CFO, the following are the three most commonly evaluated secondary skillsets candidates should be prepared to discuss and showcase in an interview.

Clear Communications

Employers place a high value on candidates with strong communications skills. Accounting & Finance professionals don’t just have to understand numbers – they often have to communicate them clearly to those who are not as numbers oriented. Candidates should be prepared to talk about their ability to explain financial policies and procedures and highlight their skills in presenting financial data. Candidates should also showcase their skills in explaining financial information and data in both formal and informal settings. For example, if in your last position you had to explain the quarterly financial performance of your division to new members of the sales team supporting that division, be sure to mention it; this is a great way to demonstrate that you can communicate financial messages to non-finance professionals.

Software Smarts

In accounting and finance, as well as other fields, the ability to use software is a big part of any job. Employers are looking for experience with popular financial software packages such as SAP or Oracle. Candidates should share specific programs with which they are experienced. If you have experience using SAP Business Suite, Business Objects, Crystal Reports or Cognos, be sure to list those on your resume. Specifically, employers are looking for how you used technology. Share your experience within context. Be prepared to discuss how you used Crystal Reports to analyze financial data to uncover business trends and opportunities. Software experience tells the employer that you actually have working knowledge of software vs. just knowing its name.

Quantitative Quality

While there are always employment trends, or changes in some of the skills employers’ desire, one thing that will never change is the need for accounting and finance candidates to have excellent math skills. Employers value candidates with the ability to calculate and analyze complex financial data. Also in high demand is broad knowledge of economics and financial markets. Candidates should highlight their experience creating financial reports, budgets, balance sheets and income statements. If you have examples where you analyzed data to the benefit of your employer, such as reviewing financial reports and finding ways to reduce costs, be sure to share them. Personal stories where you applied your quantitative skills to add value will grab an interviewer’s attention.

Looking for a new position is exciting, and a little stressful. By having a clear understanding of what employers are looking for, and thinking through how your skills are a match for their needs, you’ll be better equipped to land the job that’s the best fit for you!

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Moe Harrison
Moe Harrison

Moe Harrison

Moe Harrison is a Regional Vice President with SNI. With more than 15 years’ experience in recruiting and personnel management, Moe has a unique perspective on the top issues and concerns of employers and candidates in the accounting and finance fields.

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Full biography

Moe Harrison is a Regional Vice President with SNI. With more than 15 years’ experience in recruiting and personnel management, Moe has a unique perspective on the top issues and concerns of employers and candidates in the accounting and finance fields.

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