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Data: Changing the Role of Finance

Finance professionals have access to an almost unlimited wealth of data sources. From customer service data, to web site utilization metrics - many teams have a deep pool of numeric information. Yet, over 75% of business finance teams only review and leverage traditional financial data on a regular basis. As the relevance and thirst for business data continues to grow, CFO’s and their teams need to recognize the business potential of embracing wider sets of data.

The Chartered Global Management Accountants recent report, From Insight to Action, shares market perceptions about the role data can and will play in the future. A survey of more than 2,000 finance professionals revealed:

85%

Think that increasing their ability to work with big data will enhance their career and employability.

87%

Believe that internal data holdings have the potential to change the way business is done.

86%

Feel that their businesses are struggling to get valuable insight from data. The biggest barriers: organizational data silos, challenges relating to data quality, and the challenge of working with unfamiliar non-financial data.

90%

Agree that finance has an essential role to play in helping their organization benefit from data-related projects by applying their combined knowledge of finance and business to help translate new analytical insights into commercial impact.

For finance professionals at every level, the ability to play a central role in converting the potential of data into business value helps them play a more strategic role in their organization, and enhance their skills.

Data: Changing the Role of Finance

The Not-So-Obvious Accounting Skills

As someone who works with a large number of companies and their accounting teams, I often have insight into what employers really need in an applicant. In the world of finance, there is no replacement for experience, certificates, and degrees. And, while these elements are what will get you the interview, they only tell part of the story. How you will succeed once in the position, is usually based on skills beyond the books. In the last year I have had a number of employers share the need for accounting and finance employees who possess these surprisingly simple attributes:

Organization

Successful accountants are highly organized people by nature. More than just tracking the numbers, working accountants manage multiple responsibilities, portfolios, transactions, filing dates, project deadlines, and much more. Being organized, while mandatory to succeed in an accounting position, also builds trust and confidence from those around you.

Accountability

Accountability is the responsibility of an accountant to perform a specific function. Auditors reviewing a company's financial statement are responsible and legally liable for any misstatements or instances of fraud. Accountability means – you take the time to be both careful and knowledgeable about all professional practices. Accountability also applies to all of your workplace commitments. From communications to reporting, accountants need to own their work and ensure its timely and accurate execution.

Transparency

Honesty and integrity are highly valued in any profession, and must be beyond reproach in the accounting world. Transparency for accountants means offering visibility or accessibility to information concerning business practices and financial performance. In the workplace it means that you share complete and accurate information, even when it may reflect negatively on you. In reputable organizations accountants are valued because they always provide a clear and unvarnished view into financial and business practices.

A combination of what you know and how you behave on the job is what employers really want to know before they extend an offer.

The Not-So-Obvious Accounting Skills

The Right Resume

It is said that hiring managers spend about 30 seconds looking at your resume. As recruiters we spend more time looking at resumes than the average hiring manager, and in so doing, we know what it takes to get you to that next level; the interview. Your resume is the vehicle to take you from applicant, to interview, to “You’re hired!” Here are some key tips to keep in mind as you create and up-date your resume.

  • When it comes to your name and contact information, keep it simple. We don’t need to see your name in a big - fancy font, a new color, or hugely bolded to take over the top line. Keep it simple. If you have professional credentials such as CPA, MBA, etc… list that right at the top with your name.
    I’d also advise against including your picture. Every recruiter or hiring manager will also view your LinkedIn profile, so be sure you have a current, professional looking photo on your LinkedIn page - along with updated experience and your education.
  • Highlight your accomplishments and successes. It’s important that your resume convey what you did and how you accomplished your goals. Your resume should not just be bullet points of a job description. Think of your resume as ‘accomplishment based’. At this time you should also augment your LinkedIn profile with any recommendations and references you have received; add those to your LinkedIn experience and education.
  • If you have been promoted in your previous position, show progression within the company - not just the total length of time with the company. Include the dates of your employment. If you have employment gaps that are easily explained, list those dates and explain them; such as continuing education course work, volunteering stint, maternity leave.
  • It is important to list all software and computer programs in which you are experienced.
  • What to AVOID:
    • Poor grammar
    • Spelling errors
    • Inconsistent formatting
    • The use of tables in your resume
    • Details irrelevant to the job opportunity
    • Fluffy introductions and wordy job overviews and summaries

Make sure your resume is a truthful and accurate version of yourself. You should never lie on your resume. It's important to showcase your best accomplishments relevant to the role for which you are applying.

Now, proofread your resume several times. Once you have that winning resume, be ready to speak to your successes and experience during the job interview. You are on your way to your next great opportunity!

The Right Resume