Posted by Cheri O'Neil on Friday, September 18, 2015 - 11:45
Obviously, employers who are hiring accounting and finance professionals are looking at job skills.
But what might not be so obvious is that those accounting and finance professionals — at all levels — are looking at the very same thing: They want to find jobs that will help them keep their skills up to date in this ever-changing industry
A new survey by Robert Half Finance & Accounting shows that half of the finance and accounting professionals are very concerned about keeping their skills current in the next three to five years, and 64 percent of those surveyed think that the chance to gain new skills is a critical consideration when making a career move.
Whether you’re looking for a job or looking to move up in your company, you’d probably agree that professional development and on-the-job training offer great incentives to stay.
“Our company’s research has found a lack of advancement opportunities is a top reason good employees quit, trailing only inadequate compensation,” said Paul McDonald, senior executive director for Robert Half. “A company’s best performers are often the first to leave if their employer does not provide ample training and development to help them grow professionally.”
Here are five tips to build your financial job skills — with or without the help of your employer:
1. Remember the essential soft skills.
Can you collaborate and communicate well with a diverse group of colleagues? Generation Z, pay particular heed. Your cohort is in need of developing soft skills to pair with your technology skills. More experienced workers should also be aware of the importance of improving communication and interpersonal abilities.
2. Flex your leadership muscles.
Employers are beginning to look for candidates who can play a larger role in their business — candidates who can develop strategy, make leadership decisions and serve as business partners across more than one department. The key to developing sharper business acumen is to see the “big picture” — how external trends apply to company strategy.
3. Find a mentor.
Pay close attention to what your boss has to say about company priorities, and find a mentor. A mentor can “show by doing” for your team members. When partnered with top-performing employees, staff can observe the interactions of these individuals with leaders in your firm as well as clients.
Even if you’re not looking for a position with a different firm, it still pays to expand your network, especially inside your organization. Increasing your base of contacts can help you identify valuable allies and establish connections that make it easier to secure resources and support and help you move up the career ladder.
5. Keep up with industry trends.
Learn ways you can improve your social media skills to contribute to the organization. Become proficient in the latest finance software, take advantage of seminars, webinars and courses to build technology skills. Consider asking your employer to host a training session to bring the entire staff up to speed.
Want to see more about the Robert Half survey, which shows how the majority of finance and accounting professionals value the ability to build their skills in a new job?