Top 12 Crucial Finance Skills That Employers Value in 2024

Companies in the finance sector are always on the lookout for skilled professionals. In fact, India is facing a shortage of skilled professionals.

Recent reports, like the one from HR firm TeamLease, show how much employers value skills. Among the various in-demand skill sets, financial proficiency is one. There is a need for finance skills, especially in the tech industry. The widening gap between the demand and supply of professionals with finance skills calls for the need to learn new skills for aspiring candidates looking to establish a career in the sector. 

Even though we have the largest percentage of the working population in the world, we don’t have enough skilled workers to meet the industry demands.

What does this mean?

It means that even though there are enough employment opportunities, there’s not enough talent to fill those vacancies.

The scarcity of skilled workers, particularly in the technology sector, emphasizes this industry’s critical need for finance skills. With projections indicating a demand for 30 million digitally proficient professionals by 2026 and a call for about 50% of the current workforce to learn new skills, the importance of finance skills for resumes becomes even more evident. 

In such a scenario, developing the right skills can help you land promising job roles with established and reputed companies. 

Presently, the Indian finance industry is booming, giving birth to new and exciting career opportunities. If you are a finance aspirant, this is the perfect article for you. In this post, we’ll highlight some of the most valuable and important finance skills. By adding these skills to your arsenal, you can increase your chances of bagging a high-paying role in the finance industry.

Also Check, Job-ready Program in Financial Modelling & Analysis from upGrad.

Top Financial Skills

Mastering fundamental skills required for finance jobs is vital for excelling in the financial sector. These skills act as strong foundations, empowering professionals to handle intricate financial situations, make informed decisions, and contribute significantly to their organizations. 

From analytical thinking to data management, each skill mentioned below is crucial in enhancing a finance professional’s expertise, ensuring their success and competitiveness in the finance industry. 

Here is a detailed list of both technical and soft finance skills in demand:

1. Analytical Thinking

Analytical thinking is a crucial skill for finance professionals. It refers to looking at and understanding a situation to interpret it and deriving an intelligent and thoughtful response. As a finance professional, you’d have to solve all kinds of problems from technical to interpersonal. When analytical thinking and problem-solving are your forte, you can devise smart solutions quickly which would greatly benefit the company, making you its valuable asset. 

Some of the areas where analytical thinking plays a key role include financial analysis, risk analysis, risk management, strategic financial planning, and data analysis. 

  • Financial analysis: Analytical thinking in financial analysis involves examining financial statements, identifying trends, and assessing the financial health of companies. It requires the ability to interpret complex data, ratios, and trends to make informed investment or business decisions.
  • Risk analysis and management: It is vital in assessing risks associated with investments, projects, or financial decisions. It involves evaluating potential risks, understanding their impact, and devising strategies to mitigate or manage them effectively.
  • Strategic financial planning: Analytical thinking plays a key role in strategic financial planning by analyzing historical data, market trends, and economic indicators. It helps forecast future financial scenarios, set financial goals, and devise plans to achieve those objectives.
  • Data analysis: Essential in data analysis, analytical thinking involves scrutinizing vast datasets, extracting meaningful insights, and using statistical methods to draw conclusions. Data analysis helps make data-driven decisions, identify patterns, and predict future outcomes.

2. Accounting Skills 

Accounting skills refer to the techniques and abilities that allow you to track, record, and manage financial transactions efficiently and effectively. Many recruiters expect you to have accounting skills as they are crucial for performing financial analysis, financial reporting, data management, financial modeling, and plenty of other related tasks.

A fundamental understanding of accounting skills can certainly help you in getting a good job as a finance professional. After learning these finance skills you can focus on bagging some of the lucrative roles in the industry such as Chartered Accountant, Certified Public Accountant, etc. 

Checkout: MBA Finance Salary in India

Learn Online MBA Courses from the World’s top Universities. Earn Masters, Executive PGP, or Advanced Certificate Programs to fast-track your career.

3. Business Intelligence 

Finance professionals play a vital role in helping businesses make smart decisions. To make smart and better-informed decisions, they must know how to predict future inventory, sales, and related information. This is why companies prefer professionals who are proficient in leveraging enterprise resource planning software (ERP). ERP tools like Oracle or SAP are excellent for managing inventory, planning future purchases, allocating labor hours, etc. 

Also, you must know how to use business analytics software like Tableau. Knowledge of data visualization tools allows you to convey data-based insights much effectively to your colleagues, non-technical staff, and senior management. 

4. Financial Modeling

Financial modeling is the process of representing a real financial situation through abstract methods. In financial modeling, you design a mathematical model that represents an asset’s or portfolio’s financial performance in a specific period. 

Financial models help you estimate the valuation of a business or compare multiple businesses. You might use them for strategic planning such as for calculating the cost of a new project, deciding on a budget, or testing a particular scenario. If you’re applying for senior-level roles, companies almost always will expect you to be proficient in financial modeling. 

5. Financial Reporting

Financial reporting is the process of disclosing financial results and pertaining information to the stakeholders and upper management. Like the accounting skills we discussed previously, financial reporting is another necessary skill if you want to get ahead in the finance industry.

In financial reporting, you’d be focusing on creating financial statements, balance sheets, and income sheets, through which you can show the financial position of your company to the concerning party. 

The components of financial reporting are briefly described below:

  • Financial statements: Financial reporting aids in creating accurate income statements, showcasing a company’s revenues, expenses, gains, and losses over a specific period. It reflects the company’s ability to generate profits and provides insights into its financial performance, guiding decision-making.
  • Balance sheet: It helps construct balance sheets, offering a peek into a company’s financial position at a given time. Detailing assets, liabilities, and equity provides a clear view of the company’s financial health, aiding in assessing its solvency and overall stability.
  • Cash flow statement: Financial reporting generates cash flow statements, displaying the cash movement in and out of a company over a specific period. It helps assess the company’s liquidity, operational efficiency, and ability to meet financial obligations.

Some students confuse financial accounting with reporting but they are quite different. Accounting focuses only on recording the transactions of a business while reporting focuses on organizing those records to get an idea of the business’s financial health. 

Learn more about them with the best financial modeling courses available both online and offline.

Also Read: Future Scope of MBA in Finance

6. Cash Flow Management

According to a study, 82% of businesses fail because of poor cash flow management. Cash flow management is the process of analyzing, monitoring, and optimizing the cash receipts a business gets after deducting the cash expenses. Businesses use cash flow management to manage their finances and focus on growth as it tracks the ins and outs of a business’s funds. With proper cash flow management, a business can avoid financial loss and make profitable and sustainable strategies. 

Thus, cash flow management is a non-negotiable skill for any finance aspirant or professional. 

Explore the Job-Ready Program in Financial Modeling & Analysis offered by upGrad.

7. Mathematics

While it may sound obvious, having strong calculative skills would certainly benefit you as a finance professional. From data management to financial analysis, there are tons of areas where you can use your knowledge of mathematics. 

Some of the areas that require a strong grasp of mathematics are financial analysis, predictive analysis, data management, and accounting.

  • Financial analysis: Mathematics plays a vital role in financial analysis, exemplified by using quantitative techniques to interpret financial data, assess performance ratios, and conduct risk evaluations. It involves mathematical computations to analyze trends, evaluate investments, and make informed financial decisions.
  • Predictive analysis: Strong mathematical skills are crucial for predictive analysis, to use statistical models and algorithms efficiently to forecast future trends or outcomes based on historical data. Mathematical concepts form the foundation for building predictive models and interpreting their results accurately.
  • Data management: It is fundamental in data management for finance. It involves mathematical principles for organizing, processing and interpreting financial data effectively. Understanding mathematical algorithms helps handle large datasets efficiently.
  • Accounting: Mathematics is inherent in accounting practices, involving calculations, ratios, and formulas for recording financial transactions accurately. It underpins various accounting principles and procedures, ensuring precision in financial reporting and analysis.

It is a fundamental skill necessary for all financial roles. If you have good calculative skills and understand most mathematical concepts, it’ll be much easier for you to develop strong analytical skills.

8. Financial Management

Financial management refers to organizing, planning, directing, and controlling financial activities to procure and utilize an organization’s funds. It focuses on applying general management concepts to a company’s financial resources. 

If you want to get ahead in the finance sector, then you should have this skill. Financial management is crucial for multiple roles such as investment banker, portfolio manager, financial advisor, etc. This skill helps you in making better financial and investment decisions. 

9. Data Management 

Data management is the process of gathering, storing, managing, and maintaining an organization’s data. Proper data management is necessary to help the business in performing data analysis and use the data to guide its decisions.

While as a finance professional you might not have to work extensively on data management solutions, having this skill will make your job a whole lot easier. You wouldn’t face problems in using the data or accessing the same for performing financial analysis or predictive analysis. 

Financial data management allows a company to consolidate its relevant data to comply with laws and regulations. This is another reason why it’s a sought-after skill. 

Read: Career in finance in the future

Additional Skills Required for Finance

While the skills we discussed earlier are a must to pursue a career in the finance sector, these additional skills will help you look attractive in the eyes of the recruiters when they read your resume: 

10. Communication

Being able to communicate properly is vital in the finance sector. You’d be working with many people and you’d have to convey technical details to a non-technical audience multiple times. Without strong communication skills, it would become very challenging for you to share insights and collaborate with other team members or departments. 

Some of the key reasons why communication is regarded as an important soft skill in the finance industry are illustrated below:

  • Client interaction: Clear communication helps build rapport, elucidates intricate financial concepts, and nurtures client relationships in the industry.
  • Team collaboration: Strong communication practices promote seamless cooperation among teams, stimulating the exchange of innovative ideas and strategies.
  • Presentations and reporting: Efficient communication skills are instrumental in delivering cogent presentations and reports that resonate with diverse audiences, enhancing informed decision-making processes.
  • Conflict resolution: Clear and empathetic communication is a linchpin in defusing conflicts, resolving misunderstandings, and cultivating a harmonious work environment within financial institutions.
  • Negotiation skills: Mastery in communication ensures transparency, comprehension, and successful outcomes during negotiations, forging beneficial financial deals and agreements.

11. Management Experience

While freshers do not need management experience, this skill is mandatory for anyone aspiring to take on managerial roles in a company. You should be able to supervise and manage teams, solve both internal and external problems, and display leadership skills as and when the situation demands. 

Management expertise is, therefore, one of the most crucial skills for finance jobs. It can prove useful for the following:

  • Team supervision: Management experience means overseeing teams to ensure smooth operations and a positive work environment.
  • Problem-solving: It involves addressing internal and external issues within the company using analytical skills.
  • Leadership display: Displaying leadership qualities, making decisions, and motivating teams toward goals when needed.

12. Business Acumen

Business acumen denotes one’s proficiency and ability to interpret a business problem and devise innovative solutions for the same. In the finance sector, you’d need strong business acumen and commercial awareness to improve the financial performance of a company. It is essential to stay updated with the latest market and customer trends to stay ahead in the competition. 

A strong business acumen as a finance expert can be useful for the following:

  • Strategic problem solving: Business acumen involves skillfully addressing business issues and creating innovative solutions.
  • Enhancement of financial performance: It’s crucial for improving a company’s financial outcomes and ensuring profitability.
  • Market and customer trends: Staying updated with market trends and customer preferences helps adapt strategies and stay competitive.
  • Adaptability and competitiveness: Awareness of market dynamics ensures adaptability, keeping businesses competitive.

How to Develop the Right Skills for Finance Roles?

Today’s finance world has changed greatly due to market shifts and new technology. It’s essential to keep learning and adopting the skills required for accounting and finance to keep up. This means not just focusing on technical knowledge but also learning through practical experience, staying updated, and being adaptable to industry changes.

Improving your skills for finance jobs involves several essential steps:

  • Self-assessment: Start by identifying areas where you feel less confident or wish to improve, such as budgeting, investment analysis, or financial reporting.
  • Continuous learning: Engage in ongoing education through industry-specific courses, workshops, or certifications that align with your career objectives. These programs offer insights into the latest trends and tools in finance.
  • Practical application: Apply finance concepts in real-life scenarios. Managing personal finances or practicing financial modeling using tools like Excel can refine the practical skills needed to be a financial analyst and also boost confidence at the same time.
  • Networking and mentorship: Connect with professionals in finance to gain diverse perspectives and seek mentorship from experienced individuals. Their guidance can be invaluable in developing technical skills required for financial analysts.
  • Stay informed: Keep updated on finance news, market trends, and industry publications. Attending webinars or subscribing to finance-related newsletters broadens your understanding of financial concepts.
  • Problem-solving and critical thinking: Sharpen analytical and critical thinking skills by regularly analyzing financial data and making informed decisions. This practice enhances your ability to solve complex financial problems.
  • Use online resources: Use online platforms that offer finance-related content, forums, and educational resources. These tools provide additional learning opportunities.
  • Seek feedback: Actively seek feedback on your finance-related projects or work. Constructive criticism helps identify areas for improvement, allowing you to continually adapt and refine your skills.

By now, it’s clear that to land a job in the finance sector, you must possess both general and niche skills. The most efficient way to develop all of these skills is through taking a finance course. With our Job-ready Program in Financial Modelling & Analysis, you’d get to study directly from industry experts and receive 360-degree career support. The course covers many technical skills including financial management, artificial intelligence in business, digital fraud and risk analytics, and data visualization in finance.

Apart from the course’s curriculum, you’ll get the added benefit of networking with fellow professionals, getting one-on-one feedback from your mentors, and career counseling for doubt resolution. 

Equipped with industry-knowledge and skills, you can easily pursue prominent roles in banking, insurance, fintech, financial services, and startups.

Developing a new skill can be quite challenging. However, once you begin your journey and choose the right milestones, you will gain new skills and experience as you progress. The key is to identify your career goals and then figure out how you can accomplish them. If you know what you want, nothing can stop you from growing into a competent professional. 

We hope this helps!

What are the technical skills required for financial analysts?

Financial analysts require a range of technical competencies crucial for their roles. These skills encompass proficiency in financial modeling to create predictive models and forecasts, adeptness in data analysis using tools like Excel, SQL, or Python for interpreting financial data, and a sound understanding of accounting principles and financial statements to conduct accurate analysis. Additionally, familiarity with financial software such as Bloomberg Terminal or Tableau aids in effective analysis and reporting. Risk management techniques and skills in investment analysis are also fundamental for evaluating risks and opportunities in financial decisions.

What are the mandatory MBA finance skills for resume?

Key skills for MBA finance freshers include financial analysis proficiency, skills in budgeting and forecasting, crafting comprehensive financial reports, understanding risk management principles, possessing financial modeling expertise, and demonstrating a grasp of accounting principles.

Which financial analyst skills are considered the hardest?

Some financial analyst skills are notably challenging due to their complexity. Mastering advanced financial modeling for complex business scenarios, understanding quantitative analysis with intricate statistical methods, grasping derivative valuation intricacies, and conducting detailed macro and microeconomic analyses for economic trend assessments are particularly demanding. These skills require ongoing dedication, continuous learning, and a deep understanding of finance, making them more difficult to master compared to foundational skills.

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