Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan recently said that
the role of accountants has become more important to general society
in the current economic times. Finance is evolving from a focus on the
transactional and cost efficiency areas to strategy where finance now makes a
massive impact on business. If you’re looking to progress your careers in an
ever-evolving industry, experts warn the focus needs to be more on a broader
range of skills like emotional intelligence, technical skills and interpersonal
skills, if you are serious about your future finance career.
Growing numbers of finance professionals spend the bulk of
their time as internal consultants or business analysts within their companies.
Management roles for accountants increasingly involves a wider and deeper
knowledge of financial strategy, business partnering and having to deal with
internal and external stakeholders.
Technological advances have liberated finance professionals
from the mechanical aspects of business. They spend less time preparing
standardised reports and more time analysing and interpreting information. Many
have moved from the isolation of accounting departments to be physically
positioned in the operating departments with which they work.
The changes in the business environment and practices along
with the impact of technology have resulted in a trend where finance
professionals are emerging into important role players in the strategic
management of businesses throughout South Africa. Working in a changing
economic environment with changing legislation, while considering the client’s
needs, is a constant challenge and also requires a different set of skills than
30 years ago.
Companies are in need of finance and accounting
professionals that are able to look at the numbers and ask ‘why’ as opposed to
simply calculating results and putting them on spreadsheets or PowerPoint
presentations. The base accounting and finance technical skills are a given
these days and something that hiring managers really want to ensure people have
as they come into the fold. But it's people that can “step back and understand
the big picture” that are important and companies are hiring them.
Some of the skills hiring manager are focusing on besides the
competency areas are:
IT /System knowledge skills
Never before has it been more crucial than today, that information needs to be
real time, accurate and precise. This need for real time access drives the
demand for finance professionals that understands how to make use of technology
effectively in order to successfully communicate complex issues that will
assist management in decision-making. Technology and accounting software is
important in driving the evolution of the role of accountants, who now spends
far less time updating ledgers and doing manual calculations and more time
identifying financial risks, optimising tax payments and finding ways to
The demands on finance professionals are different today, as they are tasked
with working with a variety of managers, suppliers and clients. While technical
skills are essential, it is well- developed interpersonal skills that will
enhance relationships with clients and staff. The ability to work together with
different role-players is key to success.
In the fast-paced business world, finance professionals have become
information providers. It’s no longer just about being a wizard at spread
sheets and data manipulation but you need to be able to figure out whether the
data is reasonable and realistic. You’re not predicting profit, but rather
presenting information to be able to make assessments about the future.
In conclusion the latest Talent
Shortage Survey for South Africa shows that accounting and finance
staff are among the top 10 positions that employers in South Africa are having
In light of this, it is no great surprise that as the
industry changes, the way in which companies identify talent and recruit the
best people, changes. To find the best talent organisations need
specialised recruitment agencies that know the market, understand the skill
requirements, are able to interpret the market conditions, and can identify the
best possible candidates from the limited talent pool. Communicate
Recruitment is a specialist Finance recruitment company and can assist
with the sourcing, assessing, screening, and matching of candidate to ensure
you find the right fit for your company the first time.
Need help and advice on how to take the next step in your
career? Our consultants are experts in the Finance industry and will help you
achieve your career goals and manage the entire recruitment process, from
interview to offer stage. Connect with us today for top talent and great