What Employers Want: The top six non-finance skills for finance leaders - Part 1

Published on: 5 Apr 2016

Part One | Leadership and Risk Taking

In a new three part series, Cedar looks at what employers look for in today’s finance leader.

In 2015, McDonald’s UK launched a campaign calling for a whole-scale re-evaluation of the value and importance of soft skills in the workplace. Research showed that soft skills contribute £88bn to the British economy and this figure expected to rise to £109bn within the next five years.

The need for soft skills such leadership skills, risk taking and strong commercial acumen are now vital in securing your next role.

So what do employers want?
Generally speaking there are six key skills that our clients ask us for:

1. Leadership
The best leaders have strong ethics, integrity and the ability to win the trust and respect of colleagues across the business. Strong leadership is the one of the most important skills a finance leader can possess, and one which is most often requested by our clients.

Successful finance leaders are those that thrive on change and development and those that have a robust personality to withstand criticism / resistance and who naturally lead by example. To lead effectively, you must possess the ability to push back and challenge at all levels if and when required. You also have to have the ability to persuade, convert or neutralise others influence or opinion when it comes to management decisions which may compromise the objectives of key projects.

2. Risk taking
Financials have been catapulted to the forefront of business strategy and it has fallen to finance leaders to drive business forward with sound strategic and financial insight. Today’s finance leader is a commercially savvy business leader who is optimistic and constantly looking for new opportunities. Employers are looking for people who effectively evaluate and calculate risk. Employers are looking for confidence in judgement. You need to take risks in business and the humility to put yourself on the line is attractive to employers and will earn you respect.

As successful finance leader will be highly skilled in providing detailed risk management provisions, contingency and exit planning and must form opinions and back up their insights and decisions with solid research and due diligent planning.

Look out for Part Two next week which looks at Forward Thinking and Interpersonal Skills.

Cedar is a specialist search and selection business focused on sourcing senior financial talent across commercial organisations. View the latest roles from Cedar