Getting out from behind the desk – Five skills for a career in finance
As with many career paths, finance has changed dramatically over the last decade or so. The traditional stereotype of the inky-fingered bookkeeper or forbidding accountant is wildly inaccurate. This is now a world where most small businesses can do their books in-house on a relatively low-cost software package, the suit and tie no longer dominate many corporates, and the man in the street has access to more choice than ever on investments and financial decisions.
A career in the financial sector remains a viable and dependable path
This change in in the landscape of the industry means that some new traits and skills are required for those people seeking to work in it. A career in the financial sector remains a viable and dependable path despite the changes, and there is a skills gap waiting to be filled. So here are five desirable traits if you want to work in the finance sector.
- Be a people person and don’t expect to hide behind your desk. In much the same way that many other professionals are being less formal, the financial world is no longer a place where your interaction with others will be limited. You will need to build relationships and develop your interpersonal skills. The days of being a
quiet number cruncher in a small office are long gone.
- Be analytical and capable of applying your analysis to a real-world situation. A computer can do the numbers, but only a human can really apply their meaning practically and creatively to the business or individual’s needs.
- Get qualified and then stay qualified both formally and informally. Money is important and, while it may not be able to buy happiness, it can certainly be the cause of unhappiness if handled badly. Whatever your intended career path in the finance sector, be qualified formally, then informally stay qualified by keeping up to date with developments in the sector. As your career progresses, you may well want to look at additional qualifications and membership of professional bodies.
- You need to talk for the numbers. We haven’t bothered to list ‘a capacity for understanding finance and numbers’ in this list because it goes without saying. However, you should not forget that this is a core skill that many other people do not have. Your ability to contextualise and explain your work will be vital, so concentrate on your communication skills and develop good techniques when it comes to explaining complex issues.
- The devil is the detail, and so is the career progression. You must have excellent attention to detail, and marry this up with the analytical skills we talked about in point 2
As we said at the beginning of the article, although finance, as with many industry areas, is facing a period of instability, it continues to thrive and can still provide a long-term career for people with the right skill set. If you are thinking of working in the finance sector, or are already in it and looking to improve and develop your career, why not call us for an informal discussion to see if we can help you get where you want to be.