What do employers look for in the best finance candidates?

Written by James Knight | Blog | Candidates | Financial Services | Posted 14/02/2017 14:37:46

With Finance roles being ever-sought after but highly competitive, it is useful to know the skills and qualifications which are most in demand. In this blog James Knight, Finance Principal Consultant, shares with you the CV highlights and experience which could land you your next Finance position.

What technical skill are most in demand?

This is very much dependent on the area of Finance you are working in, however there are a couple of skills which we see most frequently requested by our clients. Due to consistently changing regulations, accountants with a strong regulatory background are always in high demand. Particularly, this includes those who have worked on Solvency II, IFRS 9, and this will soon extend to IFRS 17 also.

What qualifications and experience are desirable?

80% of our clients currently prefer candidates that have worked within the BIG 4 and are ACA qualified. Having said this, if someone holds another accounting qualification then that is normally acceptable. The most desiredhowever is experience with the Big 4. Additionally, businesses are in constant pursuit of improving their processes, automating processes, and moving offshore. As a result of this, individuals with experience in finance change are often the first to be hired.

Which soft skills should you exemplify?

It is difficult to show personality on a CV but including some brief additional information at the end to say a little about yourself can go a long way. Showing your personality and demonstrating that you will be a valuable team addition is something you can show best at interview stage, make a poignant effort to do this.

What do the most successful candidates usually have on their CVs?

For those who work as contractors it is best to show a range of long term contracts, renewals and that you have returned to the same company more than once. Evidence of repeat hire shows your successful in previous roles and that a business with a good reputation considers you to be a desirable candidate.

For those who work in permanent companies it looks good to have 4-7 years of work within a business during which time you have demonstrated consistent upward movement before moving on to new employment.

In turn, whether you are a contractor or permanent member of staff, you should emphasise any work you have done with recognised businesses within the industry. If we have a role for a particular bank we will often seek candidates who have worked for competitors of this bank or similar organisations.

Finally, ensure you’ve got the right skills and that you’ve provided evidence of this. We look for experience across a number of different finance systems or reporting standards.

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