The 5 most in-demand finance & accounting skills

The 5 most in-demand finance & accounting skills

Competition for skilled finance talent continues at an all-time high, with finance leaders grappling with assembling a team to improve their bottom line. According to a recent Deloitte poll, this has become an increasingly difficult feat. 

According to the poll, 82.4% of hiring managers in public companies for finance and accounting roles report that their organizations have faced significant talent retention challenges over the past year, and 82.3% anticipate continued recruiting difficulties in the coming year.

Deloitte poll shows that hiring managers at public companies for finance and accounting talent are facing significant talent retention challenges and anticipate experiencing continued recruiting difficulties
Source: Deloitte, A new working relationship: Aligning organizations with the workforce of the future

The resulting finance and accounting talent shortage has created a fiercely competitive job market where top talent is in high demand. To help leaders identify key talent search areas, we reviewed over 2,000 current job postings on JobsPikr to pinpoint the most in-demand finance and accounting skills. Here are five of the most sought-after skills:

1. Forecasting

Forecasting is a key tool for budgeting, assessing fiscal risk, and analyzing the impact of proposed changes in strategy or investments. It requires an ability to capture data and interpret it, parse it, and understand its implications.  

So, why is financial forecasting such an in-demand skill today? Simply put, it's the closest finance can come to delivering certainty in an uncertain world. As companies strive to plan for today and tomorrow, they need agile, forward-looking financial insights that can help them navigate economic ups and downs.

The best forecasters understand the nuances of the market, can accurately assess risk and opportunities, and use a combination of intuition and data analysis to provide timely insights. Drawing on their extensive financial and business knowledge, they help companies survive the rough seas of economic downturns and accurately plan for growth.

In the face of economic uncertainty in 2023, data-driven financial forecasting is no longer just a nice-to-have — it's a must-have.

2. Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A)

According to a CFO research survey, 88% of finance leaders believe that decision-makers in their company want a better understanding of the analysis they receive, and they want finance to simplify it for them. Financial planning and analysis (FP&A) helps bridge this gap.

FP&A is all about crunching the numbers to understand what drives profitability, evaluating performance against established business goals and objectives, and providing timely insights to inform strategic decision-making.

The key to success in FP&A is to have an integrated approach, where numbers communicate the story to business decision-makers. It uses data to shape the future and point to value creation and cost savings areas.

In practice, this means:

  • Identifying key financial drivers that are critical to success
  • Developing a deep understanding of drivers trends and correlations in financial data
  • Using data automation and analytics tools to quickly gather, organize, and analyze financial information
  • Identifying patterns in data and finding areas where the business can be optimized
  • Using sound financial models to assess the impact of proposed investments or changes in strategy
  • Monitoring customer profitability, setting budget targets, and validating the business case for proposed projects
  • Utilizing predictive modeling techniques to uncover insights and trends
  • Mastering budgeting processes to ensure resources are allocated wisely and efficiently

3. Financial Systems

Financial systems are the backbone of a company's operations and processes. They provide the underlying infrastructure that ensures accuracy and visibility into a company's finances, empowering reporting and analysis to drive insights into financial performance.

However, companies with siloed or outdated systems risk exposing themselves to massive inefficiencies and cost overruns. By onboarding a financial systems analyst, they can identify gaps in their existing processes and develop more streamlined, efficient financial systems that promote financial health and stability.

As companies continue to prioritize greater integration and automation of their processes, the need for financial systems experts will only grow. Professionals who understand the nuances of enterprise systems – and have a knack for finding smart solutions – will continue to be in high demand.

4. Financial Statements

Companies don't achieve strong balance sheets, robust financial performance, and healthy cash flows by chance. They understand that to drive growth and stability, they need to ensure that their financial statements accurately reflect the current state of their business and position them for success.

That's why professionals who can take raw financial data, create meaningful statements, and interpret the results are in high demand. And while their roles have traditionally been transactional, they are rapidly evolving to become more analytical.

A recent research paper published by Deloitte found that 92% of respondents believe that transactional processing will either somewhat or significantly decrease over the next five years and become more analytical. 

This shift underscores the growing need for critical thinking and problem-solving skills in financial reporting. According to the same survey, 61.7% of respondents felt that these skills were substantially the most important for their team to improve upon.

By investing in the expertise of professionals with advanced analytical skills, enterprises can get a bigger-picture understanding of their financial position and make smart decisions to drive a healthier bottom line.

5. Risk Management

Weathering the storm of financial uncertainty isn't easy. However, companies that can assess risk accurately and develop strategies to mitigate its potential impact on their operations stand a much better chance of surviving in tough times and emerging stronger.

Proactive finance teams view risk holistically. They recognize that risk isn't just a financial concern but one that permeates all aspects of the business. That's why having a risk management specialist on the team is key. 

Risk professionals build frameworks to identify, quantify, and mitigate risk. They help businesses stay agile by anticipating change and developing strategies that provide greater resilience in times of crisis. With a risk lens, they can also identify emerging opportunities and help organizations seize them.

Final Thoughts

The war for finance talent is as fierce as ever. Navigating the finance and accounting talent shortage requires you to revamp your talent acquisition strategy to fill in-demand roles quickly and effectively. This guide provides some strategies to help you get in front of the finance talent you need. Read the blog to find out how you can optimize your talent acquisition process, fill key financial roles, and build a team of finance professionals with the right skills — one that can drive your business forward.

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