Finance Skills: Definition and Examples
Preparing for a career in finance requires you to possess a set of industry-related and interpersonal skills. By taking the time to review the basic skills that might be needed for a job position in finance, you can provide yourself with the best opportunity for success.
In this article, we define finance skills with examples, how to improve these skills, how they can be applied to the workplace and how to highlight your finance skills in job application materials and in-person interviews.
Related: Learn About Being a Financial Planner
What are finance skills?
Finance skills are hard and soft skills that are used by those who work in the finance industry, including accountants, financial analysts, chief financial officers, underwriters, finance managers and more.
It is important to note that each profession has its own individual skill requirements, but there are still several skills that are needed regardless of position or experience level. Finance skills are important to uphold financial practices and maintain financial stability within a business.
Related: Your Guide to Careers in Finance
Examples of finance skills
The following list reviews several finance skills that can be utilized by professionals across the finance industry:
In the finance industry, analytical thinking is the process by which a person can review data to identify patterns, discrepancies or additional funds within the company's finances. This skill could demonstrate to employers that you have the ability to view numbers in a more complex way.
In a finance position, you might be working with a team of other professionals to identify risks, record financial data or create a budgeting plan. You should be able to communicate in a clear and concise manner to make sure that no one is misinformed.
You might be in a position where you need to persuade your coworkers or higher-ups about useful financial strategies and budgeting tactics that you believe will be beneficial to the company. You should be able to provide them with factual evidence to support your claims.
Those in finance roles might be tasked with reacting to financial problems within a company. You might have to find a way to pay off liabilities using available assets and other methods. Listing problem-solving as a skill could imply that you have the expertise to approach difficult financial situations.
In managerial and executive finance roles, you might be expected to make difficult decisions, including budget cuts, branch-closings and downsizing or investment choices that could potentially harm or benefit the company's finances. Decision-making demonstrates your ability to make educated business decisions.
Being detail-oriented is an important skill for those in finance, as much of their work involves entering, analyzing and calculating company data. You should be able to identify discrepancies in company data and should be able to identify mistakes made in accounting calculations. By listing detail-oriented as one of your skills, you are implying that you are an individual that can help a company maintain its financial accuracy.
This is an industry-specific skill that implies your knowledge of financial planning for a company. It suggests to employers that you can create a comprehensive plan for short- and long-term company goals, as well as a detailed plan of how to achieve or maintain financial stability.
This skill is important to those in accounting or executive finance positions. It implies your ability to handle a large sum of money, and divide it accordingly across an allotted period to the right areas of the company.
This skill suggests your ability to analyze a company's financial documents and identify potential risk factors to a company's finances. This skill could be useful to those in executive finance roles or risk management positions.
Cash flow management
This skill refers to your ability to monitor the amount of cash that a company has at any given time. It also refers to your ability to project the amount of cash that will be available to the company in the future. This skill is useful to those who work in accounting, credit analysis and loan companies.
As much of financial documentation is completed via computer programs, you should be skilled in the use of one or multiple software programs. By listing MS Excel as a skill, you are implying that you understand how to use the program and you know how to organize financial data into a digital format.
Related: 6 Essential Accounting Skills
How to improve your finance skills
There are several ways to improve your finance skills. The following section will review a few of these methods you can utilize to your benefit.
1. Identify your weak areas.
The first step to improving your finance skills is to identify areas in which you need more practice. If you are not comfortable with using computer software programs to complete data entry for your company's finances, consider focusing on working toward a mastery of this skill. Once you feel confident in the use of computer programs within your finance job, you can look to other areas that you find challenging.
2. Apply finance skills to your daily life.
Consider applying finance skills that are useful to the business world to your daily life. You can set weekly or monthly budgets, keep track of expenses by entering them into spreadsheets and conduct assessments on your future financial stability based on your current spending habits. By improving your finance skills in this way, you could be better prepared for a finance position within a company.
3. Earn industry certifications.
Whether you are pursuing an entry-level role or have been working in the finance industry for a significant amount of time, industry certifications are a unique way to improve particular finance skills and can also serve as a great resume enhancer.
You can earn certifications through several organizations, including the financial management association. This organization offers certification in financial planning, analysis, accounting, underwriting and a variety of other finance-related specialties that can be obtained at each experience level.
Related: CFA Exam: How to Advance Your Financial Career
Finance skills in the workplace
The following section reviews the importance of financial skills and how they can contribute to the workplace.
Implement a structured company budget
Depending on your job position, you may be responsible for creating and monitoring a department or company-wide budget. You should use your financial planning, budgeting and decision-making skills to divide available funds to important tasks and company supplies.
Coordinate with coworkers about financial decisions
You might work in a role that requires you to analyze financial data and meet with coworkers to discuss the meaning of that data. You should be able to use persuasive and decision-making skills to help guide the conversation toward an appropriate solution.
Identify potential risks to financial stability
Use your analytical skills and knowledge of risk management tactics to actively search for and identify risks to your company's finances. Depending on your position within the company, you may have to consult with other company officials to determine a plan of action.
Related: Top 10 Accounting Interview Questions
How to highlight your finance skills
The following section reviews the best methods to incorporate your finance skills into your resume, cover letter and during a job interview for a finance-related position.
Finance skills for your resume
Finance skills can be implemented in a few different areas of your resume. The summary section, skills section and professional experience section can be utilized to demonstrate the skills you have acquired. Be sure to incorporate the skills that are relevant to you from the job description, as these can help your resume get noticed before your competitors.
Finance skills for your cover letter
Your cover letter is a chance to highlight your professional experiences included on your resume and elaborate on them a bit more. Your cover letter should directly relate your finance skills to a detailed account of your relevant work experiences and how you developed particular skills through the tasks you were assigned.
Finance skills for the job interview
Demonstrate your finance skills during a job interview by being prepared to relate them to specific professional or educational experiences you have had in the past. A job interview can be your chance to show a potential employer that your skills are not just in writing, they have actually been put into practice by you, and you can apply them to the position in question.
Types of jobs in finance
If you're interested in a role in the finance sector, there are various options you can consider during your job search. Here's a list of 10 jobs you may pursue in finance:
5. Loan officer
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