Key Skills Required for Project Finance Manager

Sarika’s father was a banker and she would often overhear his conversation about funding big infrastructure projects and pondered about how the bank determines the loan amount, how these loans are facilitated and which parties are involved. Rather, she found that job rather exciting. On questioning her father, she came to know that it was the project finance team which helped make financial models: expected cash flows,risks involved, and other factors so that the bank could determine the viability of the project, the loan amount, and interest rate in relation to the risk involved.

She found the profile quite interesting, and decided to question her father regarding the same. On the basis of her query, let’s explore what key skills for an entry level project finance manager will involve –

  1. Strong analytical and quantitative skills: Since this is a core finance and numbers related job, it is important to be comfortable with numbers and to possess strong analytical skills to put together various kinds of reports
  2. Knowledge of accounting, financial analysis and reporting, regulations, taxation: Knowledge is the differentiator that can decide who can and who cannot be hired for this role. Someone who already has the requisite knowledge will always be preferred since being a support function, firms prefer not having to train the employee. Having the required qualifications and / or undergoing courses offered by training institutes would help in a big way
  3. Attention to detail and diligence:Ultimately, you will be working with numbers and it is no good if you made a decimal point error in writing down the profits! Every word and number put out has strong implications on the company’s finances and hence accuracy and diligence is key
  4. Problem solving: You need to demonstrate problem solving skills if you are vying for a senior role
  5. Strong interpersonal skills:You will liaise with a lot of people in this job. They could be people within your own team, other departments, investors, customers, suppliers, bankers etc. To be effective, you need strong interpersonal skills and assertiveness

How to get in:

  • A major chunk of Corporate Finance professionals or Finance Managers are CAs or MBAs in finance
  • Rarely, you also see commerce graduates who have worked their way up the ladder.
  • Certifications like the CFA may give you the extra knowledge/edge needed

Thus, the profile requires you to be not only good at technical skills, but equally strong at interpersonal skills since it would help them to smoothly carry out day to day activities.