Three Vital Skills Finance Industry Professionals Now Need to Succeed

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In recent years, there’s been a subtle change underway in the hiring practices of a wide variety of industries. Although the specifics of that change vary from industry to industry, they can be summed up in one way: a new emphasis on multifaceted employees. The major driver of the change is the rapid introduction of new technologies into every line of business imaginable. That has caused a dramatic shift in the kinds of skills demanded of employees up and down most workforces, giving rise to a new designation – the hybrid employee.

Nowhere is the hybrid employee becoming more prized than in the world of finance. It’s an industry that has been affected by digitization much more so than almost any other, even spawning a new sub-industry known as fintech. That shift means that everyone in the world of finance, from accountants to advisors and analysts, now needs a much more diverse set of skills to thrive in the industry. Here are three of the most important skills that finance professionals should focus on honing to succeed in the new era of the hybrid employee.

Data Analysis and Trend Identification

One of the largest features of technology’s entry into the world of finance is the increasing use of data as a decision-making tool at all levels. It’s happening in the form of automated, AI-driven tools as well as new data visualization platforms that allow employees to generate custom reports that help them to achieve their objectives. That’s why today’s finance professionals are expected to have knowledge of and skills relevant to data modeling and analytics, so they’ll be able to make good use of the wealth of information they’ll now have access to in their finance roles.

Communication Skills

For many years, there were plenty of careers in the world of finance where communication was neither emphasized nor required. In other words, it used to be possible to build a career in finance on the strength of mathematical skill alone. Now, as technology has created the means to support one-to-one and one-to-many communications (like webinars and remote meetings), modern finance professionals are expected to be proficient in both oral and written communications so that they can provide reports and guidance to others based on their work. In addition, today’s firms are keen to build and nourish a culture of collaboration to further business goals. Taken together, that means employers in the industry are putting heavy emphasis on the ability of their employees to communicate effectively, and may even screen for it as part of their hiring process.

Governance and Risk Management

As technology has worked its way throughout the modern world of finance, it has enabled all kinds of new efficiencies and advantages. At the same time, however, it has created a minefield of compliance and risk issues as access to financial data and other private information has spread throughout organizations. That has driven many employers in the industry to prioritize experience and knowledge in risk management and data governance, since protecting information is now an enterprise-wide task. This is especially true in the wake of the EU’s GDPR regulations that imposed strict data handling requirements and hefty fines for non-compliance on businesses in all industries. Financial firms, who already operated under some of the most thorough data compliance standards, can ill afford to run afoul of these new regulations and seek a workforce that is prepared to help them stay on the right side of the law.

A Trend With Staying Power

It’s important to realize that, even though technology has already had an enormous impact of the finance industry, it is very likely that we are much closer to the beginning of the disruption curve and not the end. For anyone seeking to build a career in finance, that means two things. First is that, even at this early stage, it’s vital to develop skills outside of their area of expertise to stay ahead of the competition. Second is that the number and variety of the skills that employers in the finance sector will be looking for in the future are almost certainly going to climb, and that cross-functional, hybrid positions are the new normal in the space. The bottom line for finance professionals is that it’s time to begin augmenting their skills to avoid running the risk of being left behind in an industry that’s undergoing rapid change.

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