Important Finance Skills That Employers Value

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Accounting and finance professionals can find career opportunities in many different industries. Whether you're applying to be a CFO, financial analystfinancial planner, or investment counselor, you'll find that these positions have certain functions and terminologies in common.

To get into the field and land any of these positions, you will need at least a bachelor’s degree, although you have a few choices of majors that qualify. There are degree programs in finance, accounting, and economics. Some professionals also consider coursework in communications to be useful for this type of work.

Depending on which field you enter and which positions you wish to apply for, you may need to complete a specialized training program and earn one or more certifications or licenses.

What Kind of Skills Do You Need to Be a Finance Professional?

Because many different roles and positions exist within the world of finance, the necessary skills can vary a lot. Accounting and finance professionals must have excellent analytical ability and interpersonal skills and a sharp understanding of industry technology. As someone who manages money, an organization’s most important commodity, financial professionals bear a great deal of responsibility. So being trustworthy and able to perform well under pressure are incredibly important traits.

Review Finance Resume and Cover Letter Samples

Types of Finance Skills

When interviewing for any finance or accounting-related position, you will need to demonstrate several skills, both technical and soft, in order to land a job. Many of the most sought-after skills for finance jobs are also important in other fields. You may well have more relevant experience than you think.

Accounting

Accounting skills include the knowledge necessary to record accounting transactions and a strong understanding of the applicable accounting regulations. You may or may not be preparing financial statements and budgets directly, depending on your position. You don't need to be an expert accountant because you may have an expert accountant on your team assisting you. But you will need to be entirely comfortable reading and discussing financial statements in order to give financial advice.

  • Accounting
  • Accounting Principles
  • Accounting Standards
  • Accounting Techniques
  • Averaging
  • Budgeting
  • Calculations
  • Cash Flow Management
  • Computer
  • Concentration
  • Cost Analysis
  • Cost Reduction
  • Data Processing
  • Financial Data
  • Financial Management
  • GAAP
  • General Ledger
  • Journal Entry
  • Mathematics
  • MS Excel
  • Profit and Loss
  • Quantitative Data
  • Reconciliations
  • Reconciling Balance Statements
  • Reporting
  • Sorting
  • Tax Filing
  • Tax Planning
  • Tax Reporting
  • Trial Balance
  • Working with Numbers

Analytical

Analytical thinking means looking at a situation accurately, understanding how it works, interpreting what it means, and then coming up with a thoughtful, intelligent response. This skill has technical applications, such as data analysis or financial analysis, as well as wider applications, such as generalized problem-solving. You will need both.

  • Analyzing Data
  • Decision Making
  • Economize
  • Estimation
  • Financial Analysis
  • Financial Planning
  • Forecasting
  • Logic
  • Planning
  • Prioritization
  • Problem-Solving
  • Projecting Fiscal Balances
  • Quantitative Analysis
  • Ranking
  • Recognizing Problems
  • Restructuring
  • Risk Analysis
  • Risk Management
  • Strategic Planning
  • Solving Equations
  • Solving Problems
  • Using Analysis on Financial Scenarios
  • Valuations
  • Value Added Analysis

Technology

Modern technology makes it much easier and faster to find, sort, and process the bulk of the information you need to work in finance or accounting. The downside is that you need to understand that technology in order to use it. Because the available tools continue to change and evolve, a detailed list of technical skills in this area would be quickly out of date. But if you ground yourself in modern information technology and then rigorously keep yourself up to date, you’ll be in a good position to succeed.

At a minimum, in-depth experience with a spreadsheet program is a must.

  • Financial Engineering
  • Financial Modeling
  • Financial Systems
  • Hyperion
  • IT Software
  • Microsoft Office
  • Mobile Applications
  • QuickBooks
  • SAP
  • Securities
  • Software
  • SQL
  • Technology

Written and Verbal Communication

Not only do you have to be able to communicate clearly to give financial advice, but you also need to inspire trust and develop a strong rapport with people. Otherwise, no one will trust you with their money. This is not a matter of putting on a trustworthy front; while some people misrepresent themselves in order to attract business, such practices are both morally wrong and usually less effective. You must actually have integrity and good judgment. If you can’t communicate well on all levels, other people won't be able to tell that you're a trustworthy person.

The finance industry can be both financially rewarding and personally satisfying because, in certain positions, you get to spend your time helping people. Like many other fields, you will have to apply yourself and work hard to succeed in this kind of demanding career, but the potential for success is worth it.

  • Communication
  • Financial Advising
  • Financial Concepts
  • Financial Reporting
  • Interpersonal
  • Leadership
  • Management
  • Nonverbal Communication
  • Performance Management
  • Persuading
  • Practice Management
  • Presenting
  • Project Management
  • Relationship Management
  • Translating Data

More Finance Skills

  • Compliance
  • Decision Making
  • Dexterity
  • Estate Planning
  • Handling Detailed Work
  • Handling Money
  • Investments
  • Investment Principles
  • Marketing
  • Mergers 
  • MBA
  • Organizational
  • Performance Measuring
  • Portfolio Performance Reports
  • Sales
  • Taxation
  • Wealth Management
  • Working under Stress

How to Make Your Skills Stand Out

ADD YOUR MOST RELEVANT SKILLS TO YOUR RESUME: Review lists of the top skills employers look for when evaluating job applicants and the best skills to put on your resume to help you get hired. You do not need to mention every single skill; just be sure to pick a few from each section to show that you are well-rounded.

HIGHLIGHT YOUR SKILLS IN YOUR COVER LETTER: Use your cover letter to show the hiring manager that you're a strong match for the job by mentioning how your qualifications fit the job requirements.

MENTION YOUR SKILLS DURING JOB INTERVIEWS: You can also mention these words in your job interviews. Each job will require different skills and experiences, so make sure you read the job description carefully and focus on the skills listed by the employer.