Career opportunities in the Financial industry are seeing a steady demand and are extremely remunerative, with progressing sectors of Fintech and iGaming promising rewarding roles in finance with great opportunities of career advancement. For an individual aspiring to lead a successful career in finance, having the right set of skills and qualifications is essential to starting off on the right foot and being prepared for any suitable job opportunities in the Financial Services in Malta. In today’s competitive job market, the hunt for talent means that employers are selecting candidates who display the requirements and necessary qualifications as well as the right skills to hit the ground running once starting the job. With careers in finance being available in practically every sector, candidates must be made aware of what their future employers value and demand of them during the recruitment process.
Individuals looking for career opportunities in the financial industry must ensure that they first have the necessary qualifications for the specific roles they wish to pursue. Professional designations are vital in accounting and financial roles - certifications as a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Chartered Accountant (CA) and Certified Management Accountant (CMA) are a few main designations which employers expect candidates to possess when applying for some roles in finance, some being legally required whilst others merely preferred, with additional credentials being highly favoured also. That being said, individuals who wish to go after a career in finance must be informed about the required qualifications for various roles beforehand. Different roles demand different levels of qualifications, however common areas of good problem solving skills and numeracy skills are expected for just about all finance roles - numerate degrees in statistics and mathematics are favoured, and at times expected.
Once more, depending on the role in question, one must be prepared accordingly. Junior roles in finance may only demand A-level standards of accounting and mathematics, whereas senior roles would demand degrees in more specified areas of such subjects in preparation for a more demanding job. By reviewing detailed job descriptions for financial roles which may be of interest to the individual, one can identify the qualifications and certifications required for certain roles in this industry.
Experience & Technical Skills
Apart from qualifications, another set of hard skills comes through experience in one’s line of work. Every job has its set of skill requirements which must be met and vary according to one’s seniority in that role. The financial industries of the world require individuals who are responsible and reliable, meaning that as one progresses in their financial career, they will be trusted with a greater level of responsibility and initiative. For instance, junior-level roles in accounting might entail practices of bookkeeping, data entry, recording transactions and issuing payments which would cover fundamental aspects of a more complex role which can be secured with time.
That being said, such practices, although somewhat entry-level, are necessary for one to move onto the next stage in their financial career. Eventually, individuals can climb up the ladder and secure roles which necessitate the implementation of more elaborate financial responsibilities, contributing to key decisions within an organisation through the preparation of financial reports to set up budgets and funds, working alongside other professionals in finance towards one common goal. Taking this to a further level, C-suite positions require candidates to possess management skills which means being able to productively manage and lead projects, set deadlines and meet policies, compliance and regulations. In addition, having good management skills also means dealing efficiently and effectively with others within the company through training, supervision and evaluation of fellow colleagues’ work.
Moreover, there has also been a rise in demand for individuals in finance to possess technical skills in I.T. in order to be able to keep up with the digital innovation of the financial sectors of the world. Firstly, proficiency in the Microsoft Office Suite is an absolute must - skills in Excel are necessary for accountants and auditors alike. Individuals following a career path in finance should also be up to date with current and upcoming trends in technology which may impact the financial services - being informed about tech trends in finance will help one broaden their horizons and prepare them for greater opportunities in Fintech sectors. The changing role of the accountant in today’s job market means that employers value candidates who display interest and enthusiasm to utilise new technology in their work - careers in finance and banking are starting to demand knowledge in Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence for automation, cloud computing, enhanced data collection and analysis, amongst other assets, meaning that professionals in finance will have more time on their hands to look into more strategic work and act as key business drivers for their company.
It therefore goes without saying that in the financial industry, employers demand certain levels of expertise from candidates depending on the job available, so candidates must keep into consideration that relevant work experience is essential when applying for certain roles.
As with all other jobs, roles in finance demand a professional set of soft skills which range from interpersonal to organisational, analytical, problem-solving and decision-making. One must keep in mind that when working in finance, one will be in contact with many other members of the organisation, providing financial information which must be communicated clearly with individuals who may not be able to interpret such data easily.
Therefore, any professional in finance must be able to communicate effectively with others in a straightforward, well-structured and informative way. Having good interpersonal skills goes hand in hand with this, as one must be able to interact well with colleagues at the workplace as well as with clients who’s financial situation must be communicated properly.
Accountants and Financial Advisors must possess good interpersonal skills to listen and speak with their clients in a confident and trustworthy manner to better understand their financial ambitions and tailor their services accordingly. The aspect of team-playing skills also comes in handy, as being able to work smoothly with colleagues within a group means contributing to the chemistry and unity of that group, which displays a characteristic which is desired by employers, no matter the role.
Good time-management and organisational skills are also at the top of the soft skills list. Employers want to know that the people they recruit are able to work on their own initiative with the ability to work under pressure and without any supervision to meet deadlines comfortably. Leadership skills are particularly sought after for managerial and executive roles. The ability to listen and speak in a motivational and influencing manner for the good of the team and the benefit of the company and its clients and customers goes a long way, and often determines the success and positive atmosphere at the workplace.
Being able to balance one’s commitments is a great way of displaying good time-management skills in the eyes of the employer, and experience leading a team to success through good team-work is always the best way to prove your worth to an employer. As with all other soft skills mentioned above, the best way of communicating them with one’s future employer during the recruitment process is to work on them personally in order to be able to provide examples of real life circumstances where one has applied such skills to handle the situation well.
All in all
Whether one is applying for a graduate job in the financial services or a role which is more senior in level, it is best to keep in mind the required qualifications and skills which are needed and how to obtain them. By understanding the job requirements and duties of the role, one would have a better idea as to what the employer is expecting, and as a result, be able to form a better approach.
Luigi Muscat Filletti
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