When prepping for an interview for the financial role – be it equity research, credit analysis, risk management, etc. the first task is to make a list of all the finance soft skills jargons and understand the role in detail. That’s to be expected. However, knowing it all about the role is not suffice these days. Remember, such techniques are a dime a dozen, and you’ll need x-factor to climb up the ladder.
Gone are the days when job hunters’ underscored the importance of only technical skills. Today, soft skills are given as much importance as technical prowess. Since the firms offering financial services are experiencing a tumultuous caused by dynamic market forces across the globe; finance soft skills have become more critical for the people working in the banking and financial domain.
New technologies like machine learning, blockchain and artificial intelligence have their sweeping effects on the financial institutions. Due to the trails associated with these emerging disruptive technologies, financial institutions are required to develop new hybridised skill sets to keep themselves abreast with the technologically driven change and compete with insurgents. Clearly, superior customer service has become an essential competitive differentiator in the financial domain.
“Soft skills help the leaders to encourage, involve, and inspire team members.”
The change has also reimagined the roles of C-suite. To be an aspiring Chief Financial Officer of a company, you need to show that you are in tune with the commercial and operational drivers of the business and allied with the management to be able to guide and drive operational efficiency and capitalise on commercial profitability.
In today’s time, finance people are required to take part in broader business strategy and not just confine themselves to the traditional financial functions. In addition to the strong communication skills, employers are looking for candidates with a strategic mindset, business analysis skills and business partnering experience. Being good with numbers is not the only criteria to crack a job interview. You also need to have a commercial mindset and should be able to work jointly for business growth and make it more efficient.
These are even more important who wants to be a part of the C-suite in the finance world. For the progression, you should consider the following soft skills list:
- Unlearn. Relearn: There is no age limit for personal development. Doesn’t matter how experienced are you in the industry, it is essential to keep learning, unlearning and relearning new skills.
- Problem-solving skills: Not every problem needs a technical solution. It is vital to look at things abstractly to zero down on the best approach for it. So, to climb the ladder, it is advisable to develop your problem-solving skills.
- Personal branding: Making yourself a brand is not just a thing for marketing people these days. You cannot forget how imperative it is to protect your personal brand, especially when the employers are not just looking at your domain knowledge, but all aspects of your personality.
- Communication skills: Every number tells a story, and you need to articulate these in a jargon-free way while communicating your ideas to clients or team members.
- Collaboration: To secure a spot as a top-level financier, you need to establish effective communication across all levels of the business, relate with operational staff, collaborate with multiple teams and drive key business outcome to achieve a shared goal.
- Empathic Intelligence: Empathy is probably the most undervalued when it comes to finance soft skills. When advising clients on how to boost their financial life or recuperate with losses, one needs to put themselves in their client’s shoes to design the most holistic approach for them.
Everything in the world is changing, and so are the workplace requirements. For career development, it is important to keep refining and updating your communication skills, leadership skills and team-building skills. Being stronger in these areas along with your domain knowledge is what sets apart a good candidate from a great candidate and a senior accountant from a CFO. So, if you aspire to be one of the C-suite members, work on your overall growth and not just be focused on your technical skills.
The next question would be – How to develop finance soft skills?
- While few listed above can be innate qualities, it is not impossible to incorporate the imperative attributes in your personality. Embrace the small changes in your day-to-day life and stay disciplined.
- Pursue hobbies during your leisure time.
- Life is too short to learn from your own mistakes. Seek the help of your mentor or senior professional in your workplace.
- Lastly, pursue courses which can help you polish your finance soft skills.
“It’s often not what you know, but what you can offer that makes all the difference.”