Our panel of recruitment experts reveal what they think will be the key finance skills for finance professionals in 2015
Paul McDonald, senior executive director, Robert Half
‘It’s exciting to be in accountancy and finance right now. Practitioners are seeing their prominence within their organisations rise, in part because of their comprehensive skillsets and involvement throughout the business.
‘Today’s accountancy and finance professionals must have excellent non-technical – or soft – skills. They need to collaborate with colleagues in all departments, communicate financial information to non-financial audiences and maintain a big-picture view of the business.
‘And, as in essentially all fields, they must be proficient with the latest technology, from Excel and ERP systems to reporting programs and big data. As such, they need fluency with data analytics, being able to turn information into actionable insights.’
Helen Firth, senior manager, Morgan McKinley
‘In 2015, we foresee that the finance department will ultimately shift the focus from compiling accounts to analysing business information, supporting decisions and providing strategic advice. Therefore, although financial and technical accountants will always be required within the finance team, it is likely that in 2015 we shall see an increase in more analytical and commercial roles.’
Joss Collins, Venn Group
‘Candidates with top rate practical skills coupled with an engaging personality are always in demand. In 2015, employers will continue to seek out qualified level accountancy professionals with not only strong analytical experience but also superior interpersonal skills. Number-crunching on a monthly cycle is not enough; candidates will need to demonstrate that they can collaborate with senior decision makers within an organisation to communicate trends and implement effective processes.
‘Jobseekers who have the ability to tailor off-the-shelf accounting software packages so that they add real value to an organisation will be particularly sought after.’
Andrew Setchell, director of accountancy recruitment, Robert Walters
‘Practice-trained accountants will be particularly sought-after due to their expertise in financial control and reporting. However, hiring managers may be frustrated in their attempt to hire these professionals, particularly as so many firms cut their newly qualified accountant intakes between 2010 and 2012, leading to a shortage of candidates.
‘Commercially astute accountants will also be popular hiring choices as both large and small companies seek to capitalise on market recovery by driving business growth.’
Neil Johnson, freelance writer