A university degree in accounting and accounting work experience are no longer the only requirements for candidates looking to get a job. Many employers are now looking for ‘soft’ skill-sets that set candidates apart from the pack.

some of the skills hiring managers are focusing on besides the competency areas are: 

  • EQ
  • Technology
  • Learning & development
  • Education
  • English language proficiency

If you're looking to progress in your career in an ever-evolving industry, experts warn the focus needs to be more on a broader range of skills.

1. emotional intelligence

Accounting professionals need EQ, or emotional quotient, to understand how they relate to different personalities, especially for leadership positions. Accountants, often falling into the ‘number cruncher’ stereotype, need to be able move beyond the core accounting skills to develop themselves for a successful long term career.

Accountants who are in a leadership position must have a personality that can influence team dynamics, explain complex financial terms for their executives and collaborate with internal and external parties.

why is it in demand?

The wide array of new investments from overseas is leading to a need for accounting and finance professionals to be able to build successful relationships with clients and be aware cultural differences. Emotional intelligence is crucial in cross-cultural situations to ensure smooth communication both ways.

2. technology

Most of our clients are looking to hire prospective candidates with sound information technology skills. While finance-specific software is widely used and experience with them is in-demand, there is an emergence of avant-garde tech solutions in the finance space. While employers may not require a candidate to know how to work with new robotics solutions to stream accounting processes, familiarity with technology is crucial for these accounting candidates so they can earn new tech tools quickly.

why is it in demand?

Robotics solutions are automating simple tedious tasks such as data entry, bookkeeping, and posting transactions to allow accounting professionals to focus on the strategic aspect of accounting. Employers are looking for accounting professionals who are skilled in technology and able to actively participate in the implementation and management of these new solutions.

3. leadership skills

To remain a valuable member in the accounting and finance team, it isn’t sufficient to have watertight expertise of softwares and processes – it’s also imperative to be able to guide teammates through complex obstacles as they arise.

why is this skill in demand?

With organisations moving their accounting and finance team in-house to develop more robust teams to support their businesses, leadership skills and experience are proving critical for individuals looking to further their accounting careers. Organisations are seeking individuals with leadership skills who can grow within the company.

4. formal accounting qualification

It is undeniable that the level of education can help make a job-seeker more sought after. Perhaps more than in any other industry, professional certifications are critical in finance and accounting. Even people with no knowledge of finance have heard of Chartered Accountant (CA), Certified Management Accountant (CMA) and Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designations. These qualifications can be an absolute necessity for many jobs.

why is this skill in demand?

Knowledge is power. It's important to be able to see the big picture and understand how your accounting role impacts the overall organization. Employers expect students to have book knowledge; but now, in addition to the basic number skills, accounting professionals need to be trained to make complex decisions — decisions that professional accounting certifications help solve.

5. english proficiency

English language proficiency is vital for the competitive edge of the accounting and finance market. One of the main reasons behind the unemployment of graduates in Malaysia is the lack of proficiency in English. For accounting professionals, being fluent in business English is as important as their ability to crunch numbers as they will need the ability to properly communicate and discuss complex finance issues with internal and external parties.

why is this skill in demand?

Accounting and finance professionals are required to coordinate with myriad parties such as debtors, creditors, clients, banks or affiliate companies. Improving skills of both verbal and written business English is very much important for them.

Need help and advice on how to find your future in accounting and finance and take the next step in your career? Our consultants are experts in the Accounting & Finance industry and will help you achieve your career goals. Connect with us today for your next great career move.

check out the accounting and finance jobs in Malaysia to see available positions. 

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