Accounting and Finance: Staying Competitive in a Dynamic Industry

Skilled accountants are in high demand. Why? Their understanding of current financial regulations, best practices, financial technology, and business money management make them essential to every business organization. However, those desiring to build a fulfilling career in the financial sector cannot rely solely on their college education to carry them through their working years.

The ever-changing trends, standards, regulations, and technology require accountants and finance experts to consistently expand their knowledge and experience to stay relevant and excel in their field. Wise accounting and finance professionals stay competitive and ensure their future success by seeking to expand in five areas.

1. Industry-specific Knowledge

The rules, regulations, reporting standards, and accounting best practices you learned in college will serve you well – but only as a foundation for future learning. Staying current on the latest changes will require you to seek out information from a variety of sources, including conferences, industry publications, professional organizations, and online resources. These resources are a great source for the latest updates in your industry. They also provide a platform for you to network with other professionals to expand your view of the industry as a whole.

2. Soft Skills

Employers may call you in for an interview based on your financial prowess or accounting skills. However, without stellar interpersonal skills, you may not make the cut. Technology tools are streamlining finance management tasks for many businesses. Financial professionals who once crunched the numbers and created the reports now analyze financial data and inform business decisions based on financial patterns and trends.

Individuals who excel in collaborating with other teams and explaining financial findings to business leaders are valuable to the organizations where they work. Recruiters hiring accounting and finance professionals are looking for individuals who demonstrate excellent communication skills, are adept at problem-solving, and can apply their financial knowledge to novel situations.

3. Technical Skills

Technology is not only changing the work accountants do. It is changing the way they work. Tedious, repetitive tasks automated by technology no longer fall on their plates. Accountants who are early adopters and leverage the latest in technology can streamline their work and complete tasks more efficiently. Their technology skills make them an asset to any organization.

Finance professionals looking to edge out the competition or boost their career should consider becoming proficient in the following technologies:

  • Blockchain – Because it tracks transactions in a permanent, decentralized format, blockchain technology ensures records are 100% accurate. In the future, it could eliminate the need to reconcile records.
  • Data Analytics – Advances in AI and machine learning have provided excellent tools for analyzing large amounts of data quickly. These tools can identify patterns and trends not evident to the human eye.
  • Cloud Computing – Moving financial operations to the cloud can provide all parties with access to financial data regardless of their location. Cloud-based accounting software can add to the ease of using the cloud to do business.
  • Cyber Security – Protecting customer data is priority number one, and understanding the security tools available is vital. These tools include multi-factor authentication, encryption, and data backups.

4. Certifications

Learning new skills and staying up to date on new technologies is a great way to make yourself an asset and keep your skills in demand. However, employers love to see certifications on a resume. Certifications stand out because they represent a significant effort on your part. It demonstrates your dedication to learning and growing as a professional. Obtaining new certifications may allow you to take the next step in your career as well.

The certifications that will help you the most will depend on your field and your ambitions. To determine what will be most beneficial, look at job listings that are appealing to you. Make a note of the skills, knowledge, or certifications they want or require.

5. Finance Organizations

While they won’t necessarily win you a promotion or land you a great job, joining an organization with like-minded financial experts is a great career move. These organizations regularly publish content relevant to your industry. They offer networking opportunities and training events. They can be a great source of continuing education for finance professionals. The best one to join will be the one that best fits your current position or the one you aspire to have. Once you join an organization, become an active contributing member of the community. It will help you learn and may open doors in the future.

Who Wins?

The best candidate to fill Salt Lake City’s accounting and finance jobs is the person who leverages all the tools at their disposal. Staying status quo in a finance job means moving backward. Your skills and knowledge can quickly become outdated or “old school.” Avoid getting passed up for your dream job by investing time and energy into yourself regularly. Your efforts will give you job security for years to come.