A study conducted by Corporate Executive Board (CEB), a member based advisory board, found that finance departments rely too heavily on traditional interviewing methods that analyze technical skills and functional expertise. This method overlooks essential soft skills which they found to be valuable for high-performance and effectiveness in the finance department. CEB suggests having candidates present a case study or analyzing data to demonstrate their abilities. We compared the skills that CEB attributes to success and which skills employers are currently requiring in finance and accounting jobs.
|Skills Required in Finance Job Ads||CEB's Suggested Finance Skills|
Both lists demonstrate that communication is key. While finance professionals may have to analyze and interpret data, they also have to effectively convey what this information means to other staff members and departments. Persuasion was also at the top CEB's list, which is also needed to communicate ideas internally as well as externally. Other similar skills include project management, a commonly advertised skill, and team management, a CEB suggested skill. Both features involve working collaboratively with others towards an outcome. CEB emphasizes the importance of financial, data, and qualitative analysis skills in great candidates. Similarly, analytical skills is a commonly advertised attribute.
As CEB analyzed how the most effective finance departments select high performing candidates, they found that they use case-based interviews that simulate real-life data analysis and presentation requests to evaluate a candidate's soft skills. This method focuses on hard-to-teach and assess competencies. CEB's study found that less than 1/3 of survey respondents use these strategies.
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