5 Skills to Look for in Finance and Accounting Employees

As businesses across the world are recuperating from the pandemic loss, business owners are looking to build a solid Finance & Accounting team to help them thrive in the new reality. Whether it is adapting to new technologies or supporting your business with updated knowledge, it is imperative that your Finance & Accounting team is ready with the necessary skills and acumen, to help you manage your business in a sustainable and profitable way going forward.

Covid has created many unique financial challenges for Canadian business leaders. Some of these include:

  • Realigning financial resources depending on their use of government tools, e.g. CEWS, CEBA, CECRA, LEEFF.
  • Reassessing financial forecasts frequently
  • Seeking additional finances & taxation resources in the light of tax deferrals, regional relief programs etc.

Finding flexible and experienced Finance & Accounting professionals, who are able to adapt to rapid changes and fit into potentially reshaped roles will help Canadian businesses bounce back successfully.

Here are the top 5 skills you should look for, when hiring a Finance and Accounting professional.

Ability to learn/use technology

Having proficiency in Finance & Accounting software is a mandatory skill. There are many different software options available in the market. Fresh Books, KPMG Spark, and Zoho Books are a few top rated industry-specific software programs.

Look for professionals who have worked on one or more of these platforms. If your new employee is not familiar with the program you use, they should be ready to undergo the necessary training and learning on how to use your desired software. Many employers are looking for attitude and growth mind-set over a specific skill of software usage. If they’ve conquered one platform, they are more than likely to be able to transfer those skills to another.

Analytical Mindset

Analysis is a critical skill to look for in Finance & Accounting professionals. Having an analytical mindset to break down numbers and determine the best way to cut losses, make adjustments, identify investment opportunities and identify errors, are a few ways critical thinking shows up in a finance role.
Look for a sharp thinker who is adept at forecasting numbers, projecting fiscal balances, and risk-management. Your next Finance & Accounting professional must ideally exhibit commercial awareness of how your business fits into the market, what socio-economic factors could potentially affect your success, what is your competitor’s financial strategy etc. A great candidate will demonstrate their ability to use lateral thinking and draw well-informed conclusions to your complex business concerns using real-world examples and KPI-driven results.

Problem Solving Skills

Finance & Accounting is one department where you need solid problem solvers. Whether you are looking at forecasting budgets, determining why the numbers aren’t balancing or evaluating potential risks, your employee must be willing to go an extra mile to help you address new challenges in a quick and informed way.
Whether you are looking to solve a tax dilemma or determining the financial implications of a proposed M&A, your Finance & Accounting personnel must be able to provide the necessary knowledge and skill support.

Specialized Knowledge & Industry Certifications

It is imperative that your next team member possess the right professional designations to excel in the role. Make sure to check that your candidate has the necessary credentials and educational background, in addition to their work experience. Check what financial designations are available and what they mean to determine what fits your need.
Apart from professional designations, individuals can sometimes have specializations like regulatory compliance, risk and internal auditing, capital analysis, money laundering, and consumer protection etc. Whether you are looking for a particular specialization or not, it may be important to know your options, should a need arise in future.

Financial Reporting

One of the key function of a Finance & Accounting professional is generating reports. While you may not ask your new hire to generate reports on day one, it is important to confirm that they know how to generate reports and what reporting serves what purpose. From time-to-time, your new hire may be tasked with generating reports on company’s financial information or external financial statements and must be aware of how to do so.
It is an advantage to have someone who knows how to communicate well and can add a written narrative to the reports. This is especially handy if you publish reports or financial figures.

Having a strong Finance & Accounting team means profitability, reduced risk and sustainability for any business. Need help in identifying the right mix of skills and knowledge for your next finance role? Our team can help you build a solid team and take the uncertainties out of recruiting.

Regional Manager, Agilus Work Solutions