I spent a number of years in finance and the skills that I found the most helpful were:
*Being quantitatively-oriented (liking math and numbers), being detail-oriented (a lot of finance jobs include building financial models where it's easy to make mistakes so you do a ton of checking your own work);
*Being humble and hungry to learn (finance is a bit tricky and the people around you will have alot to teach you);
*Having strong communication skills (in finance, and many other jobs you need to be able to communicate your ideas concisely and in a way your colleagues or people you are presenting to will easily understand);
*Err on the side of overcommunicating around what you are working on and when you think you will be done with projects or pieces of your projects (in finance many other people rely on your work so it is important to let them know when it will be done so they will be able to use it to help their work)
Great question! For finance specifically, people with a variety of skills are looked for. Communication skills, good work ethic, and great time management are especially important. Beyond that, many finance employers look for those who have a genuine interest in finance and are eager to learn. Finance can at times be technical or math heavy, depending on the type of work, so being good with numbers or interested in working with numbers is helpful as well. For my role in Finance, it has been helpful to be willing to ask questions, admit what I don't know so I can learn, and to be sociable and willing to interact with many people.
If you know what kind of finance fields you are interested, I would recommend reaching out to those working in those fields through LinkedIn or similar sites to learn more about the skills specifically needed for those roles.
Accounting is focused upon assuring that the monies received from generating revenue (the sale of products and/or services), as well as the many expenses made in the process of generating revenue (the cost of manufacturing the products, sales efforts, office workers, etcetera) are to put it simply, arrayed into the correct forms that will indicate if profits or losses resulted from the sales.
Finance is focused upon a broader view of the business. Essentially, finance not only seeks to understand the accounting but also seeks to understand and lead the efforts to investigate and define the full monetary value of the current and future business.
In Accounting, I look for folks who are detail oriented, who like to work with numbers and understand the various formulas, forms, tax implications and are good at investigating revenue sources as well as expenses that, once arrayed properly, will indicate the success of the business in meeting its profit goals.
For Finance, I look for someone who has an excellent grasp of the overall business and can create models that explain the value of the business ( is the greatest value the products or services offered or perhaps the digital data base of customer purchasing patterns).
In either case, as the President or CEO of a company, I would seek someone who is intelligent, is knowledgeable, communicates well, works hard, loves what he/she does, works well in a team, is honest, ethical and wishes for the company and his/her co-workers to succeed.
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