Top Finance skills needed in 2018
We’ve explored the latest trends in the UK accountancy and finance industry to come up with a short list of must have skills that will help give you a competitive edge in your career. Here we go…
- The ability to adopt, embrace and work with new technology:
More advancements in technology are on their way as organisations strive towards digital transformation and improved productivity. Everyone in accountancy and finance now needs to be technologically savvy. Use technical tools and analytical platforms to make informed financial decisions.
Advances in technology are changing the nature of opportunities available within finance. For example:
- There’s an increased appetite for accountants and finance professionals who can also work as business analysts and “data experts”.
- “Tech-savvy” part and newly qualified accountants are really in demand at the moment because of the need for more informed commercial insight, which requires increasingly complex data analysis and sophisticated software.
- Artificial intelligence (AI), could be a game changer. Automation tools are now able to perform some transactional, record keeping and tax tasks.
So what can you do to ensure you can work alongside AI and other new technology to add value?
- Education. You must keep up to date on the evolving role of technology in the business world. Do it in whatever way suits you, whether it’s dialing into a webinar, having ‘research’ time each week or attending an industry conference (the latter one has the added benefit of building your network and keeping up your profile.)
- Specialise in a particular area such as:
- Risk Management
- Multinational payroll
- Advanced Excel capability
- Data analytics, advanced modeling techniques, and SQL
- A particular piece of software such as SAP, Oracle, MS Dynamics, QuickBooks, Microsoft Visual Basic…
- Keep abreast of Regulation and Compliance:
2018 looks to be a BIG year for compliance. The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will be hitting the UK in May, and its far reaching arms will stretch into finance departments. Knowledge of the regulation and an understanding of its impact will be vital.
Cybersecurity is a huge corporate focus, driving forward regulations such as GDPR. Firms must be aware of the threat of network attacks. Accountants who abide by new industry regulations will be prepared if such an attack happens.
Significant UK tax changes are set for April – it goes without saying that anyone working in this area must be fully educated in this area. With the UK moving to one Budget announcement for 2018 and beyond, this should slightly ease the burden of keeping up to date with changes.
- Get to know all of your business:
Accounting roles are expanding to non-traditional functions and financial professionals are making strategic decisions that impact the entire organisation. Employers value team members who can see the big picture. Professionals need to understand how every department contributes to overall company goals.
With the move towards automation, and a trend towards outsourcing entry-level accounting functions, those remaining in house should focus on becoming a multifunctional accounting professional.
- Brush up your soft skills:
With the acceleration of technology, communication skills and relationships are becoming extremely important. For example, human social skills are essential in explaining complicated tax changes to colleagues/clients. Accountants today must have top quality customer service skills.
If anyone has any questions or comments on this article, we’d love to hear from you.