If you are a financial professional, you are well aware that the landscape is changing right beneath your feet. Financial systems and processes have developed and advanced by leaps and bounds from just ten years ago, and the pace of that development is only increasing.
If you are an early- to mid-career professional, you need to be aware of exactly how the market is changing, so you can adapt your skill set and stay viable. If you can do this, you will not only be a more knowledgeable and effective individual, but you can also command a higher salary over time. The more skills you have, the more rare your combination of skills becomes. Here are some tips to evolving your financial skill set in today’s market.
Get Used to Blockchain
Cryptocurrencies took the main stage in early 2021 to an unprecedented degree. But even more pressing and far-reaching than the cryptocurrencies themselves is their underlying technology: blockchain.
Many tastemakers in tech and finance are forecasting that blockchain will have a similar impact on culture and the economy as cell phones or computers. It could very well change the way records are kept, funds are transferred, and business is done. Blockchain allows for a secure and permanent ledger of transactions to be delineated whenever an asset changes hands, with little to no transaction costs. This makes it extremely difficult to hack or alter. It goes without saying that these capabilities could have enormous ramifications for the financial industry in the coming years.
As a financial professional, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with this technology now. Do some reading and get to know the basics so that you can confidently speak about the subject with peers and especially potential employers. You’ll be glad you did.
Familiarize Yourself with Financial Software
Keeping with the trend of digitization, most of the financial profession has already migrated from the filing cabinet to the computer. As new programs are developed to generate reports, keep track of inflows and outflows, and manage the statements of a firm, the individuals that can navigate these platforms with skill will be highly valued.
You may have heard of QuickBooks, but additional software such as Kissflow and Zoho are becoming increasingly popular and powerful in the industry. Having at least a baseline of knowledge of how these programs function and what their capabilities are will help you be able to interact with tech-savvy professionals and add value to the firm.
Coding Is a Plus
Taking a step into a more nitty-gritty realm, coding is always a great skill to have when it comes to the financial sphere. Much of financial modeling – a key component of forecasting business performance and setting goals – is done with the help of coding. There are a host of free or low-cost resources at your disposal for learning coding basics if you have no experience, such as Khan Academy, Udacity, and many others. If you use Microsoft Excel often, learning some elementary VBA commands (the back-end coding function of Excel) can save you hours of data entry time over the long run.
Being able to add coding experience to your resume, as well as speaking to your experience during an interview, is an instant leg-up on your less adept competition. While the hiring firm will teach you some hard skills you need to succeed in the role, having some of your own is always a plus.
Stay On Top of Industry Happenings
As you can see from the previous skill set advice, the financial industry is constantly changing. That’s why it is so important to stay abreast of current events and insights in the industry.
Make sure to follow financial news from outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, Accounting Today, and even Yahoo Finance. Having a general idea of the landscape and major trends will help prepare you for career adaptation as well as casual conversation.
To hear what thought leaders and executives in the industry are thinking, tune into a podcast during your commute or while performing household chores. One such podcast, Unity Talks, features lively discussion with successful business leaders regarding their career path to success, obstacles overcome to become successful, and steps they have taken to remain on top of their profession. Engaging with this type of content will ensure that your softer skills are also front-of-mind and you are honing yourself into a well-rounded professional.
Discover More Industry Insights from Unity Search
The professionals at Unity Search have spent the past 10 years becoming aficionados of the labor market, specializing in creating long-term partnerships for accounting, finance, tax, IT, and HR professionals. Our team focuses on helping you navigate the job search process from both a corporate client and individual candidate perspective, as well as providing valuable industry insights through our blog and podcast, Unity Talks. Connect with a search partner at Unity today to learn more.