Top 10 Soft Skills Senior Finance Professionals Need to Succeed

For the successful employment of any professional, it is critical to have relevant professional skills or hard skills.

Какие soft skills важны для финансового специалиста?

Tatiana Yermolenko

08.02.2022 | 04:00

2020

0

To determine how well a specialist understands the specifics of the business, the companies conduct interviews with the potential candidates, prepare test tasks, etc. As experience shows, the technical basis of professionalism is not enough to get a job in a good company. The soft skills for a particular position are also crucial for the full-fledged status of an expert. Most of all, among the must-have skills are communication, time management, and the ability to make decisions in extraordinary situations. For representatives of different professions, this set of personal qualities may differ and depend on the specifics of the specialist’s work.

 

What are soft skills, and why do they matter?

Before listing those soft skills, let us understand why they are more important to some extent than professional skills. The concept of soft skills comes to us from English. It means “flexible skills,” which are personal qualities that help representatives of different professions cope with their responsibilities and successfully build their successful careers.

It is crucial to negotiate, avoid acute conflicts, solve all disputes peacefully, and find the best solution in any situation. Specialists must be able to listen to their interlocutors and deliver their points of view to others. Soft skills allow you to keep up with the times, feel confident among colleagues, and work with incoming information.

Flexible skills are essential for programmers, designers, marketers, managers of different levels, and financial specialists. They are decisive when choosing between two candidates with equal professional skills. The employer chooses a less experienced specialist with more developed flexible skills for work. Experience and knowledge can be acquired.

Top 10 soft skills for finance specialists

The gambling industry employment website Login Casino Work conducted research and compiled a list of the most critical soft skills of an employee specializing in the financial industry.

  1. Communication skills are one of the essential qualities of a modern specialist. There is often a conflict between different subdivisions responsible for various activities in financial companies. Therefore, building effective communication with employees within the department and representatives of other departments is extremely important. In the confrontation between different subdivisions, the whole business may suffer.
  2. Creativity. Today, most financial decisions are made according to preconceived algorithms. Instead of humans, it is made by robots, which can keep “in mind” a large amount of different information, hundreds of parameters, and, consequently, quickly make the necessary assessments. Robots are not prone to white noise and interpret the same information in the same way. This approach greatly reduces the time it takes to consider typical situations. But sometimes, it is necessary to find a non-standard solution, to apply an innovative approach. Robots cannot cope with such a task because their algorithms cannot go beyond the determined limits. People can react to new circumstances that go beyond the regulations to provide the client with this or that service, taking into account his circumstances. The ability to make creative decisions is as highly valued as communication skills.
  3. Ethics. In the work of a specialist, there can be situations that involve conflicts of interest. This is the case when a client wants to take advantage of a financial institution employee’s information and social connections. In contrast, the employee may wish to improve their well-being at the client’s expense. The ability to see the line between what is allowed and what is not and to identify where there are employers highly value a conflict of interest. The specialist must be able to find the best way of solving the problem, taking into account the interests of all parties involved.
  4. Stress tolerance. When it comes to finances, people can sometimes behave not quite adequately. Therefore, relevant, flexible soft skills are important for specialists working with people in financial organizations. It is important to remain calm in any situation, help the client cope with stress, and assess the situation soberly.
  5. Ability to work with information. In today’s world, it is not easy to know everything. Situations often change, new information and data appear. It is not easy to keep everything in your head. Today it is much more important to know where to look for information, what tools to use for analysis, and how to interpret the results correctly. The ability to work with information can also include computer literacy. The use of a variety of technical means is an integral part of the life of modern man.
  6. Time management. With the development of information technology, our life has noticeably accelerated. Today, you need to plan your time wisely to have time to do your work and devote time to your family. The number of tasks and responsibilities is growing, and not all of them we like, but they are obligatory. If you regularly put off something unpleasant for later. As a result, you can overdue an important task and drown in routine. Thanks to time management, a person can self-organize, categorize tasks, set deadlines, and make sure not to miss anything important. The ability to plan your time is an important and necessary flexible skill for every successful person. This is especially true for those professionals who work remotely from home: there are regular temptations to postpone some tasks and do more pleasant things.
  7. Critical thinking is a flexible skill everyone needs in our modern time. People are in a powerful flow of information daily. A lot of different data flows through us. It is easy enough to get lost in it and become a victim of information manipulation. To prevent this from happening, develop logic and observation. Ask questions and apply critical thinking techniques to the news.
  8. Decision making. The need to choose in favor of one or another person is everywhere. To achieve the goals with the maximum benefit, consciously choose the best solution out of the existing options. To do this, prioritize correctly and decide what will bring more advantages. 
  9. Emotional intelligence. This term refers to a person’s ability to recognize the emotional state and motivation. This soft skill is important for building effective communication. To master this flexible skill, it is necessary to observe one’s own and others’ emotions and develop empathy.
  10. Self-reflection is important for analyzing one’s behavior and actions. Thanks to this quality, a person can evaluate their efforts and make decisions regarding further actions. Thanks to such a quality, one can achieve more balanced decisions to establish relationships with colleagues. Keeping a diary helps to develop this skill.

This is the list of qualities that are most often found in vacancies, and they can be considered the most important for a financial specialist. However, there may be others, depending on the specifics of each particular organization, its internal rules, and procedures. You can learn about them from the job description. Therefore, it is recommended that you read the job offer carefully before submitting your resume.

How to determine the optimal ratio of your hard and soft skills?

Flexible skills are necessary even if you are an amazing professional in your field. First of all, they will help you continue to be a professional by regularly improving your educational level mastering new technologies and tools. In addition, soft skills make a highly skilled specialist an effective employee, which is very important for building a career. How to define your set of personal qualities, and what should be their correlation with hard skills? To do this, you need to answer these questions:

  • What is special about your industry, and what qualities are most valued among professionals?
  • How dynamic is the industry?
  • How fast does change happen?
  • What are the characteristics of your work (freelance, office, people/document work, etc.)?
  • Job goal? What do you want to achieve professionally and career-wise?
  • Which activities do you find most challenging to cope with according to your personal feelings?
  • What is the nature of the difficulties? Is it about communication with colleagues or lack of knowledge?

How to develop your soft skills?

Some things are given to us by nature, and some skills need to be developed, which can take much time. If someone can acquire some professional skills in a few days, soft skills can take years to sharpen. You cannot learn how to analyze information confidently in a few days or change your communication style.

Suppose you decide to change some qualities or form new ones, set yourself up for a long process. The result is worth it - due to the development of flexible skills, you can get a job in one of the best companies and change your life for the better, especially when it comes to emotional intelligence and communication skills. There are several ways to develop soft skills.

  1. Special courses and training. The choice is quite wide. You can choose classes by topic, duration, lecturer, and budget.
  2. Books on a given topic. There is quite a lot of similar literature today, and it is translated into many languages - choose what you prefer, read and work on yourself.
  3. Feedback from others. As an option, you can develop your flexibility skills thanks to the opinion and advice of your colleagues, relatives, and family members.

Each of the above options requires self-reflection, deep reflection, and evaluation of the experience, which is also a flexible skill.

Five tips for self-development of soft skills

There is a wide variety of flexible skills, and only professional psychologists and human resource managers can give specific advice on developing one or another of them. Five general recommendations are suitable almost always:

  • determine which agile skill you want to develop, and gather information about it from different sources;
  • practice regularly, because reading books is not enough to develop soft skills;
  • set yourself a real, measurable goal, which can be evaluated according to certain criteria;
  • take small steps in the development, gradually consolidating the result. If you need to develop your public speaking skills, stop being afraid of public speaking, start with speaking in front of friends or colleagues;
  • make a plan, break down large tasks into subtasks or stages, and follow the procedure.

If there are not enough general recommendations, you should look for more detailed information in specialized literature and webinars from practicing psychologists and coaches.

Useful literature for soft skills development

Today, there is a great deal of literature, webinars, and training to develop different soft skills. Among them are books that have become bestsellers, on which more than one generation of specialists has already grown. In addition, every year, there are new books that help attentive readers to develop their skills and achieve success in building a career. To develop personal effectiveness, experts advise reading “Think slow, decide fast,” the author of which is one of the founders of behavioral economics D. Kahneman. His theory combines economics and cognitive science to explain the irrationality of human attitudes toward risk in decision-making and managing one’s behavior.

American expert, consultant in time management and personal productivity D. Allen wrote the book “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity.” Reading the book will help the reader set the right priorities, determine his goals and complete the tasks he starts.

British artist M. Atavar describes 20 effective practical exercises that develop creativity in his book “Being Creative. Be Inspired. Unlock Your Originality.”

There is probably no person who has not heard of the American educator, lecturer, and motivational speaker Dale Carnegie. Published in 1936, the book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” was a bestseller for more than ten years and today does not lose its popularity, despite the frequent criticism of the theses. The second already classic work of the author was the book “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living,” which is also quite often recommended for reading by modern psychologists and coaches.

Developing stress resistance will also help such work as “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” by an American personal development consultant, entrepreneur, and blogger Mark Manson.

The development of communication and negotiation skills is facilitated by using recommendations from G. Kennedy's book “Everything Is Negotiable.”

In addition to the above literature, there are many other popular and not-so-popular books. To determine what to read, you must first understand what skill needs to be developed.

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