Soft skills for finance professionals


Technical skills may be important for professionals working in banking and financial services, but many employers are now looking for professionals with soft skills too.

A good example would be treasurers. Communication skills are extremely vital for treasury professionals as they need to liaise with various departments across the bank. Today, treasury professionals are in good stead within the job market and many companies continue to struggle to find quality talent.

Adding value with soft skills

While the traditional skill sets have remained similar over the years, organisations are now on the lookout for treasury professionals who are able to add value with soft skills; something that helps a treasury professional to navigate the complex interpersonal relationships within a company.

For those working in treasury risk, it requires a deft balance between being communicative, yet firm at the same time to stand one’s ground amidst the potentially “aggressive” traders. Within the treasury reporting zone, having a good emotional intelligence quotient (EQ) becomes more important as you move up the ranks and have to deal with more stakeholders.

More than just numbers

While strong numeracy skills are important, managing the corporate balance sheet is not enough in today’s context. The drop in asset values and the prolonged freeze in the global credit and liquidity markets have left question marks hanging over the real trading value of most numbers on both sides of the balance sheet.

Treasurers therefore need to make critical judgements about matters that go beyond the latest accounting statements. They need to assess risk and make strategic assessments that call for a broader knowledge of current developments in the market.

Strong communication skills

Professionals working in treasury today need to participate in board meetings and translate financial findings to be presented to the board. The global economic downturn has put a premium everywhere on liquidity and some corporate boards have turned to their treasurers for fuller and more frequent briefings.

Given the uncertainties over balance-sheet valuations and short-term liquidity, most boards are looking for reassurance on the financial health of their companies – and to prove so, treasurers will need communication skills that have not always been a priority in the past.

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