There’s a shortage of talent in today’s job market. While some believe it’s caused by factors like the pandemic or “Great Resignation,” the finance field is experiencing a talent shortage largely due to changing industry trends.
According to Robert Half Talent Solutions, 65 percent of senior managers in finance and accounting are hiring for permanent positions in the first half of 2022. Yet, only 33 percent are hiring for vacant roles, meaning many positions are newly created, largely due to the changing skill sets needed.
Are you interested in breaking into finance but not sure what your resume should include? Here are the top finance skills employers want, why they’re essential to the job market, and how you can obtain them.
WHAT ARE FINANCE SKILLS?
Finance skills are often associated with industry-specific positions, such as accountants and finance managers. This definition only scratches the surface when examining finance’s role in business. Finance skills are soft and hard skills that enable stakeholders to manage and navigate financial decision-making and problem-solving.
Some common roles that require financial skills on a resume are:
- Financial analysts
- Chief financial officers (CFOs)
- Finance managers
Each role requires varying skills and experience levels. Yet, several skills are important, and often mandatory, across all positions. Here’s an overview of what finance skills employers want and what you can do to enhance your resume.
FINANCE SKILLS YOU NEED ON YOUR RESUME
1. Accounting Skills
The first, and perhaps most important, finance skill employers ask for is accounting. This doesn’t mean you need to have previous experience as an accountant, but rather proficiency in reading and understanding financial documents, including:
The data points extracted from these financial documents inform finance and business leaders about a company’s financial health and its future initiatives.
For example, cash flow management—tracking a company’s assets as they move in and out of the business—is an incredibly important metric. Leadership and key stakeholders use it to predict how much money will be available at any given time and how much is needed to cover outstanding debts.
Since accounting is fundamental in tracking a company’s performance, employers tend to offer a competitive salary to those who possess these skills. According to Emsi Burning Glass data, prospective finance professionals with accounting skills can expect a median salary of $80,320 or more.
2. Analytical Thinking Skills
While employers need team members who build financial statements, business leaders need experience analyzing and leveraging this information. This is called financial statement analysis, the process of reviewing key financial documents to better understand a company’s performance.
This is done by analyzing performance metrics found on various financial statements and through financial ratios. Some important ratios include:
- Current ratio, which measures a company’s ability to pay off its short-term commitments
- Quick ratio, which calculates whether a company can pay off its short-term obligations with liquid assets
- Debt-to-equity ratio, which evaluates a company’s financial efficacy by dividing a company’s total liabilities by shareholder equity
Analytical thinking has quickly become a high commodity in the finance job market. Some of the top employers advertise finance job postings that require analytical thinking. According to Emsi Burning Glass data, the top 10 companies that require this skill include:
- PNC Bank
- Travelers Insurance
- Charles Schwab
- JPMorgan Chase & Co.
- Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield
- Wells Fargo
- The Hartford
- Health Care Service Corporation
3. Financial Decision-Making Skills
Decision-making is an essential skill for aspiring leaders. While business leaders often take time to understand an organization’s goals, initiatives, and mission, finance is crucial to positioning a company for success.
Managers in any department can benefit from finance knowledge. For example, estimating a project’s financial impact is a common responsibility, often done by calculating its return on investment (ROI).
Data-driven financial decision-making creates a clear framework for company leadership to reference and provides the building blocks to a far more elusive finance skill: intuition. For this reason, it’s invaluable to include on your resume.
4. Management Skills
Like most industries, employers in the finance sector always look for applicants with management skills and experience. These skills are needed for managing people as well as the various moving parts of a company’s capital structure and reporting processes.
This skill doesn’t apply solely to mid- and high-level managers. For example, preparing an organization’s budget requires management skills. Whether a quarterly budget for performance tracking or a budget proposal to recommend future initiatives, the preparation of this essential document calls for collaboration, regular communication, and clear direction.
According to Emsi Burning Glass data, some top finance job titles that require management skills include:
- Financial managers
- Personal service managers
- Financial and investment analysts
- Financial risk specialists
- Financial specialists
- General managers
- Operations managers
- Securities sales agents
- Commodities sales agents
- Financial services sales agents
5. Financial Reporting Skills
Many finance professionals deal with historical data, but looking to the future is equally as crucial.
Financial forecasting predicts a company’s financial future by examining historical performance data, such as revenue, cash flow, expenses, or sales. This is an incredibly important skill to include on a resume since it often assists business leaders in major decisions around areas like hiring, budgeting, and strategic planning.
Cash flow forecasting is a particularly important form of forecasting. These predictions help support a company’s stability by determining whether it will have enough cash to cover future expenses. As a result, these skills are often synonymous with “forward-thinking”—a valuable characteristic of prospective finance employees.
6. Communication Skills
Most prospective finance professionals understand the importance of accounting and analysis skills, but many minimize the role of effective communication.
This skill can take the form of strong oral communication in meetings or written communication in financial documents. Being an effective communicator also requires explaining financial jargon in simple terms. This is accomplished through financial literacy—the understanding and use of financial terminology, statements, and concepts.
Since many stakeholders and clients are outside the financial sector, companies often select candidates who can communicate complex industry language to others. Emsi Burning Glass shows a steady increase in finance job postings requiring communication skills over the past year.
7. Investing Skills
In today’s market, most employers know profits made from their goods and services aren’t enough to sustain long-term growth. Investing as one form of capital allocation is a great way for companies to generate even more money outside of their operations.
Since investing is a riskier endeavor than releasing a new product to market, it’s important for employers to hire individuals with a keen eye for investing. For example, a company that has numerous alternative investments should hire people who understand these assets and can assess the varying risks.
Another aspect of this industry that’s grown in popularity and demand is sustainable investing. This trend of purpose-driven investing has created a need for financial leaders who value and understand environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) factors when deciding whether resources should be contributed to a venture.
HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR FINANCE SKILLS
Finance skills are essential for industry leaders and managers. These positions require an intuitive knowledge of financial principles and statements to unlock critical insights into a company’s performance and potential.
One of the best ways to develop these high-demand skills is by taking an online course. These courses can offer a solid foundation in finance and accounting concepts while giving you the tools and processes to tackle some of the biggest financial challenges companies face.
Are you looking to strengthen your finance resume? Check out our finance and accounting courses, including Leading with Finance, Financial Accounting, Sustainable Investing, and Alternative Investments, to acquire the skills needed to land an interview. If you aren’t sure which course is the right fit, download our free course flowchart to determine which best aligns with your goals.