Top Skills for Finance Professionals in 2022 and Beyond

2 February, 2022
4min read
Bill Sarda, Chief of Staff, Digital Transformation
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What you'll learn

  • Key skills modern finance and accounting professionals should develop
  • Ways to up your finance skills and have a successful career
Top Skills for Finance Professionals
Next Steps: Upskill to become a finance leader
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The pandemic has taught us that the ability to adapt and learn new skills is essential for job growth and improving business results. It is critical to upgrade and improve your finance team’s abilities to ace the changing market dynamics.

What if you could be more productive with fewer resources, less overtime, and increase the quality of your output? In this article, we discuss the key skills that are needed of finance and accounting professionals to succeed and thrive.

Top Skills for Finance Professionals

There are several skills that finance and accounting professionals need – from a knack for numbers to excellence in fintech tools and concepts. Here we look at some skills that are increasingly being considered for top finance job roles.

1.Data analytics

The finance function deals quite a lot with numbers and other forms of structured and unstructured data. Finance managers and analysts should be able to analyze the data to draw accurate and insightful conclusions from them.

The finance department has for long provided stakeholders with historical data to report business’ performance. But today, you are also expected to be able to forecast revenue outcomes, costs, and cash flow. Knowledge of predictive analytics and being comfortable collaborating with data scientists is important for finance professionals to stay ahead of the curve.

80% organizat
ions forecast increased use of advanced analytics

Accounting and finance executives need to be strong problem-solvers and decision-makers. You should be able to understand how to turn big data into concise, decision-driving insights, and be able to effectively collaborate with the IT team or analytics professionals for this.

2.Digital proficiency

Finance departments worldwide are undergoing rapid digital transformation. You’ll no longer see stacks of paper records or big-bound books on accountants’ tables. Sleek tablets and laptops, voice assistants, and touch screens dot finance executives’ offices today.

Today, most F&A professionals work using AR software, reporting tools, forecasting models, RPA bots, artificial intelligence (AI) apps, and other digital technologies. Being proficient in using tech is important to be a successful finance professional in this digital era.

Demand for employees with digital skills grow

Technology has changed the nature of finance job roles. Finance staff must now stay updated on the dynamics in the digital front to be able to innovate and contribute to value-added tasks.

3.Communication and stakeholder engagement skills

The CFO and his team are no longer a team that works from behind the scenes. They are actively involved in meeting investors, communicating with analysts, stakeholders, and building the company brand and image.

Effective communication, thus, becomes essential for finance professionals. Since the finance team today needs to collaborate with multiple other teams, explaining complex financial concepts in simple terms through both oral and written means becomes important. You should also be able to interact with industry analysts and take questions about the company’s performance and goals from a wide set of audience with ease.

4.Business acumen

Business acumen refers to one’s capacity to comprehend business challenges and find new solutions to them. Strategic contributions to the business need more than simply a grasp of statistics or data points.

Good finance and business acumen skills will help you to build relationships with other business units and to learn better about their challenges. It helps you become strategic advisors and business partners to them.

Insufficient business acumen limits strategy potential

5.Budgeting and forecasting

Some of the key functions of the finance team are preparing budgets, tracking expenditure, and predicting future cash flows and costs. Finance experts should know to prepare reliable budgets with modern tools and techniques such as zero-based budgeting and value proposition budgeting.

Accurate financial modeling and forecasting using advanced statistical functions such as variance analysis help track projected and actual finance metrics, thus improving organizational performance. Financial forecasting models help depict an asset’s or portfolio’s financial performance over time and can be used to predict and evaluate the company’s value and performance.
Most companies expect you to be adept in financial modeling, especially if you are applying for senior-level positions.

6.Accounting and cash flow management

Cash flow management is the process of evaluating, monitoring, and optimizing a company’s cash revenues after subtracting costs.

Insufficient business acumen limits strategy potential

Cash flow management is used by businesses to manage their finances and focus on growth by tracking the ins and outs of their funds. A company may prevent financial loss and develop a successful long-term strategy with efficient cash flow management.

As a result, cash flow management is a non-negotiable ability for any aspiring or experienced finance professional.

7.Leadership and organizational skills

Today, CFOs stand second-in-line to the CEO and are considered of the same stature. If you aspire to be the head of the finance function, you must have strong leadership and organizational skills.

From managing multiple projects to spearheading team activities, finance professionals who set themselves apart from the rest through their exceptional team management, data analytics, and interpersonal skills will find more success.

Next Steps: Upskill to become a finance leader

There are various ways you can prepare and upskill to become a finance leader. Here are some steps that you can follow to up your finance skills in 2022.

  • Register in an online or community college class to learn about basic financial concepts, terms, and latest trends in the finance sector.
  • Take up new roles within the team to build and master new skills. This will also help you gain new experience and put your knowledge to work.
  • Review quarterly and annual reports of peer organizations to understand how they are performing financially.
  • Read books, magazines, and digital content on finance and business topics to stay updated.

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