What does it take to become a dynamic finance professional

Finance Professional in India and across the globe and organisations perform various roles. Some belong to Investment Banking, some belong to core banking, while others are into equity research, fund management, risk management etc.

We also have highly qualified professionals in corporate finance, financial planning and analysis as well as basic accounting profiles. While the qualification requirement of each of these roles is different, there are certain skills that are essential for any financial role. These skills are must-haves and form the foundation on which a Finance Professional in India build their successful careers.

Let’s take a look at some of these skills:

1. Strong Accounting foundation:

Whatever profile you are being hired for, it is almost sure for your employer to look for sound knowledge as well as a professional qualification in accounting. Most if the employers give preference to Chartered Accountants, CIMA, ACCA or CPAs to fit into the much coveted roles in corporate finance.

A formal degree in accounting prepares you the nuances of corporate finance and with a strong base in accounting, you are ready to slip into any role from CFO, Finance Controller, Analyst or Chief Investment Officer.

2. Knowledge of financial reporting

Finance professionals, especially managers or others at the helm of affairs are expected to give sound investment advice. For this you need to have a good grasp of deciphering the hidden value behind financial reports. What information has to be used, how it is to be used and what action has to be taken timely are crucial questions that can be answered if you have a good comfort level with reading financial reports. Even if you do not belong to core accounting profile, financial reports will still be an important tool for you to take strategic decisions of the company.

3. Budgeting

Budgeting is one of the key functions of financing. Managers must be adept at preparing budget for the entire company, department or any particular project, as the need arises. Planning for optimal utilization of the available resources to achieve the targets is a skill that you need to work at.

You need to ensure that the company or departmental expenditure is directly related to the objectives and long-term strategic plans of the organisation. Not just this, as a finance professional you must also know how to perform variance analysis between the actual spending and forecast budget. Only then can you design course of corrective actions.

4. Forecasting

Finance Professional in India is expected to be far-sighted with an ability to predict the course of things. One very important skill that every finance professional must know is forecasting, and this can be achieved through knowledge of financial modelling.

By learning financial modelling across sectors and kinds you can become adept at analysing the existing situation, predict what is going to happen in the coming periods and guide your team as to how to brace themselves for the risks and make the most of opportunities. Once you can show your futuristic vision to your company, you can convince them of your skills of steering your department or organisation in the right direction.

5. Data Analysis

From a good to have skill to a must have, data analysis has come a long way. Today many organisations demand finance professionals to have strong data analytics skills. The application of Big Data and Data Analytics in finance is huge. Be it banking, investment, equity research, finance process outsourcing for financial planning and analysis, Data Analytics has pervaded all spheres. Without good data analytics skills, it will be difficult to carve out a successful career in finance in times to come.

6. Readiness for Fin Tech

As we have already discussed in our previous post, FinTech is a big technology disruption in the finance space. You can either choose to embrace it and progress in your career or be ousted by it in the long run. Needless to say, as a smart Finance Professional in India, you will have to opt for the former.  Getting tech savvy and letting it play a role in designing finance processes and operations will prepare you for much bigger things in future.

7. Inclination towards innovation

While most roles in finance deal with processes that are pretty straightforward and sacrosanct, it doesn’t mean there is no room for innovation. A new method of data collection, a new angle to the analysis, a different perspective to investment, a fresh way of putting together a report, or anything that streamlines the process and brings in lucrative results is welcome in the world of finance. So why stick with the conventions always? Innovate, improvise and you never know how valuable a contribution you can do to your role.

Takeaway

So whichever financial profile you are into, add these six skills in your kitty and you are ready for any role. Along with these, strong communication skills, inter-personal skills, critical thinking and decision making skills go a long way in ensuring your success as a finance professional at leadership levels.