Careers in finance - future proofing
There was a time when the majority of the workforce was employed in the manufacturing and industrial sectors. Today, manufacturing represents a small percentage of the total output of advanced economies across Europe and North America. This transformation from a manufacturing focus to a service orientation did not however lead to mass employment. The reason unemployment rates are historically low is because the workforce adapted to the changing requirements of the economy and workers learned new, important skills to replace old, redundant ones.
So, what can those of us working in the broader finance and accounting fields expect in 2017, 2018 and beyond? There are a few unmistakable trends:
The ability to work with and make sense of a large amount of data will become more relevant. There will be better and more powerful tools available to companies to analyse data in order to increase their market share and improve efficiencies. However, smart managers will still be required to ask the right questions and use these tools effectively.
Technology training and deployment will also play a key role. It won’t be necessary to be a qualified programmer but it is important to understand how IT systems work and how they communicate with each other. The truth is that digital machines are simply better at some tasks and companies are going to keep increasing automation in these fields. Employees who can help manage the digital transformation, irrespective of their current roles, will always be more sought after.
Regulatory and compliance costs are getting ever higher for the corporate world. The demand is not only for people who know about regulations but also for those who can train others and bring in automation. In fact, the next wave of automation in finance is likely to be in the regulatory field. This provides an opportunity for employees who can help build and train these systems to perform effectively.
Be in a Growth Industry
This one is a little obvious but still needs to be mentioned. Many employees specialise in working for a particular industry and then stick to it for the majority of their careers. Although specialising can increase an employee’s value, it can also limit their options. However, someone working in the finance department of an automobile company, for example, would benefit from a few years of prior experience in the tech or renewable energy sector. This could allow them to play a leading role in the department/company which is working on self-driving electric cars!
Get the soft skills
The highest paying jobs are those that add direct value to the company. Financial data can be a major influence on the direction that a company takes. Similarly, someone who provides financial stewardship is going to be more valuable than someone who just presents data to other decision makers. Developing key skills in strategy and using their current role to drive business growth will make an employee infinitely more valuable to their company.
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