7 things accounting professionals should have

By Cheryl Ann Szetoh

As an accounting or finance professional, competition can be stiff in the job market in Singapore. Here’s how to stay marketable and attractive to any potential employer, with tips from our expert recruitment specialists:

1. Qualifications
Employers want up-to-date and recognised paper qualifications from professionals. For those within the accounting and finance industry, qualifications and accreditations such as CPA, ACA, ACCA or CFA are crucial in determining whether a candidate is considered.

In addition, role-specific qualifications such as CIA (Charted Internal Auditor) or CFE (Certified Fraud Examiner) may also be preferred, depending on the role requirements. Getting professional qualifications is always a good way to secure your professional standing and make your CV look attractive.

Your educational background and professional work environment are also indicative of your potential and calibre.

2. Experience
Professionals with broad and diverse experiences are highly attractive in the job market. Employers typically prefer professionals who have worked in a Big 4 firm previously. It could be internships, a stint or a short few years in a Big 4 firm at the start of their careers as it serves as indication to clients that the candidate had relevant experience in a reputable corporation, and would have had a certain degree of training and knowledge.

3. Stability
For more senior level roles, the stability of one’s CV counts. If you have spent a significant length of time spent in a particular role in an organisation, it signals career stability and progression. Switching roles is acceptable but is generally recommended only at the start of your career.

4. Systems implementation skills
Having the added advantage experience in systems implementation could set you apart from the rest. Particularly within the accounting and finance space, systems implementation (SAP, Oracle) experience, or better still, having prior experience in leading system implementation projects would definitely set you apart from your peers.

5. Communication skills
What recruiters look for in candidates is also a set of good communication skills that include listening and speaking as this is vital to one’s job performance. One must always keep in mind that communication is the key ingredient that builds and fosters relationships with clients and employees at the same time.

6. Leadership
Leadership and initiative are essential skills for mid to senior level management. Companies want someone who can take on a strategic role in the company to bring the company forward. Great leaders are able to boost employees’ morale and reduce turnover for the company.

7. Dynamism
Employers look for professionals who are dynamic and self-motivated. This dynamism might be hard to spot immediately but it is also this particular characteristic is indicative of whether an individual can be aligned with the company’s culture and team expectations.

In conclusion, to successfully be hired for a role in accounting and finance, you will require a good mix of professional qualifications and a good work ethic in addition to soft skills. We encourage all job seekers to do their due diligence before applying for any job, to make sure they understand what the job entails and how it fits in their career progression plans.

Cheryl Ann Szetoh, Manager – Commerce Finance Division, Robert Walters Singapore.

Cheryl Ann specialises in recruitment of accounting and finance professionals at Robert Walters
Singapore and can be reached at cherylann.szetoh@robertwalters.com.sg.

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