5 Skills to Look for in Finance and Accounting Employees

May 27, 2019

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Posted by: Nicola Malcolm

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You’ve seen the signs you need finance and accounting support. Now it’s time to find new employees for the department.

[HIRING] Over 30 Finance & Accounting Positions - APPLY NOW

Before you hire, learn the top five skills to look out for in finance and accounting candidates.

1. Computer Skills

Proficiency in accounting software is a mandatory skill.

There are many different accounting and finance programs on the market. QuickBooks, SAP, and Simply Accounting are just a few industry-specific software programs companies use and employees should be familiar with.

If your new employee is unfamiliar with the program you use, they should be open to learning how to use the platform.

2. Analytical Skills

Analysis consists of several parts: examining a situation to understand how you got there, considering what the answer means, and generating a rational response. In finance and accounting, employees should have the analytical skills to break down the numbers and determine how totals were reached, where adjustments can be made, and where errors lie.

Your next finance employee should be a sharp thinker who knows how to forecast numbers, project fiscal balances, manage risk, and more. They should have a commercial awareness of how your business fits into the market and understand how external factors—economic, political, and social—will impact future growth.

The ideal candidate will demonstrate their ability to implement lateral thinking and draw suitable conclusions through real-world examples and KPI-driven results.

3. Problem-Solving Skills

Problem-solving is an important aspect of any job. Whether it’s determining where the numbers erred to predicting future budgets or why the numbers aren’t balancing, your finance and accounting employee should be willing and able to tackle new challenges and problems as they arise.

From determining the financial implications of a complicated business issue or creating a personalized solution to a client’s tax dilemma, a finance employee should be good at solving problems and understand that challenges are an opportunity to test their skills.

4. Specialized Knowledge & Industry Certifications

This is a career fueled by rigorous standards. Professional designations help ensure candidates have the necessary credentials and educational background to back up their work experience.

Examples of areas with special skills include regulatory compliance, risk and internal auditing, capital analysis, money laundering, and consumer protection. Even if a specialized skill isn’t mandatory in the job description, bookmark this on the candidate’s resume now, as it may be of value to your business later.

5. Financial Reporting

Financial reporting is a crucial part of any finance and accounting role. Even if your new hire won’t be directly responsible for preparing the income statement or budget, they’ll be assisting with these tasks and will need to understand how the numbers are calculated.

Other reporting responsibilities include creating the company’s financial information, such as external financial statements, drafting press releases regarding quarterly information, updating financial information on the company website, and relaying this information to government agencies when needed.

Finance employees should be able to generate reports that show how the business is doing and the direction it’s headed, then display that message to the rest of the company and relevant external parties in a language everyone understands.

Contact a staffing firm today to help you find your next finance and accounting hire.

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Nicola Malcolm

Nicola Malcolm

Nicola has over 20 years of staffing industry experience with global, international, and Canadian firms. She has a broad knowledge base from having worked at a temporary recruitment desk, as an on-site manager in a global warehouse and manufacturing company, and in marketing, IT and operations. In addition, Nicola managed a portfolio of MSP/VMS accounts for a global MSP, and currently manages the staffing supply of 10+ Canadian MSP/VMS programs. In her spare time, Nicola uses her recruiting background to help her family, friends, and personal network find meaningful work opportunities. She also enjoys applying her operational skills to plan family trips abroad as often as possible.

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