Top 5 (Soft) Skills for Finance Professionals

CFO.co.za aims to increase the knowledge of CFOs in South Africa as well as exchange ideas and information. As an example of useful topics to be discussed within this online community, we showcase a Top 5: Necessary (soft) Skills for finance professionals - according to the finance professionals themselves.

We asked some top finance professionals for their ideas on the most important soft skills in their field. This is what they highlighted as the Top 5:

1. Effective communicator
Any finance professional who does not master the skills of effective communication, can hardly call him- or herself a finance 'professional'. Good communication skills are skills that facilitate people to communicate effectively with one another, and its value cannot be overstated. Numerous appropriate techniques can help you improve your personal communications, both in listening to others as well as to express yourself.

2. Flexibility
Any CFO or finance professional that is flexible is able to adapt to changes easily. In today's ever-changing world, this is an absolute must-have quality. A financial department within any company can not be considered flexible if its employees are not. Flexibility is about being able to compromise, and to occasionally put oneself in the shoes of a business partner to get a different view on things. However, being too flexible is also not advisable, which could end up conflicting with your own role or goals.

3. A good advisor
Especially during the current financial crisis, the role of finance professionals has shifted to that of an advisor, next to being the decision maker. Companies have become increasingly aware of the risks of their (financial) decisions, and therefore rely on finance professionals to support and advise them well. Being a good advisor only applies to those possessing the most important skills as mentioned above - those of effective communication.

4. A skilled presenter
Finance professionals are often expected to give presentations to staff members or management teams. Being free of 'stage fright' and able to deliver a great speech no matter the circumstances or the audience is indispensible to any man or woman in that position.

5. Able to give and receive feedback
Being able to give and receive feedback is essential for a good finance professional. Any proposal requires a good portion of it, after all. If you are proficient in giving feedback to people around you, they will feel understood, valued and taken seriously. Moreover, you offer them the opportunity to learn, and this can motivate them. Being capable of receiving feedback is just as important: it means providing yourself with learning possibilities.

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