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How to get on the board

Five skills you need for a successful finance career
Updated: 01 Mar 2014

Technical skills, business knowledge, staff development, communication skills and international experience are the five key skills any finance professional needs for a long-term successful career, says recruiting experts Hays.

Emma Charnock, Regional Director of Hays in Hong Kong & China, here shares her expertise on the skills finance professionals need to get to the top.

Technical skills: “Finance professionals need to be finance experts,” says Emma. “You need good accounting knowledge in order to know that records are accurate. You also need good financial analysis skills to interpret data. If you want to specialise, such as in treasury or tax, you’ll need to develop the appropriate technical skills in your area of specialisation.”
Business knowledge: “There’s no point having good technical skills if you don’t understand their importance in the business world. You can attain these skills by getting involved in your own business and reading financial media every day to get a good business understanding in a world context.”
Staff development: “Understand how vital your people are,” says Emma. “There’s no point being a loner in your career. The ability you have to influence a business and do a good job is dependent on the calibre of the people who work for you. So take time to build the best possible team and develop your staff. All team members should be a representative for you – you want them to be able to walk into a meeting and show how good they are which will reflect positively on you.”
Communication skills: “This doesn’t just mean the ability to make a presentation. It also refers to your ability to influence others. If you’ve got 30 seconds with the MD, you need to be able to communicate the three or four key messages you need to get across simply so it can be understood.”
International experience: “With these first four skills you can have a great career but if you want to reach the top, increasingly international experience is important,” according to Emma. “To gain international experience you do not necessarily need to complete a secondment, although that will obviously be an advantage. Perhaps you could go and work in the Australian or European part of the business, or you could get involved with projects that are abroad. Such international experience is important as it gives you a solid understanding of the culture of the business.”
According to Emma, if you have a mix of these five skills, you’ll have a good career.

Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people.

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For further information please contact Paula Tychsen, Marketing Executive – PR & Communications of Hays, on 02 8226 9739 or

About Hays
Hays is the leading global specialist recruiting group. It is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide. It operates across the private and public sectors, dealing in permanent positions, contract roles and temporary assignments.

As at 30 June 2011, Hays employed 7,620 staff operating from 255 offices in 31 countries across 20 specialisms. For the year ended 30 June 2011, Hays reported net fees of £672 million and operating profit of £114 million and placed around 60,000 candidates into permanent jobs and around 190,000 people into temporary assignments. 31% of Group net fees were generated in Asia Pacific.

Hays operates in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, the United Kingdom and the USA.

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