Throughout the course of this blog, Rida will discuss what organisations in the Gulf are currently looking for when it comes to hiring talent within accounting and finance and what candidates should be mindful of when looking for their next opportunity.



Professional qualifications

The accounting and finance industry is constantly improving its standards with personal development opportunities presenting themselves in various educational degrees and qualifications. Having a career in finance, a sector with high demands in structured processes and standards, requires candidates to have successfully completed qualifications in order for them to be considered by employers due to their high demands and requirements for niche talent. Being qualified increases the candidate’s chances of being visible to potential employers, incentivises the candidate’s earnings and benefits and gives them better career opportunities. Being qualified even helps highlight the softer skill sets that they hold, such as the resilience and persistence they put into achieving them.


It’s not just a crunching numbers game anymore

Once upon a time, finance professionals were bound to traditional methods of accounting and bookkeeping, however, the new era of digitisation along with the automation of systems and processes has brought in modern accounting. Currently, finance professionals are expected to provide in-depth analysis, be able to deal with multiple stakeholders, analyse financial data, forecast and interpret the results along with determining how the business is performing and what the long-term projections are for the organisation. There now is a much broader and holistic approach which means having these skills are vital when providing perspective on the financials for key decision makers.


Experience within finance transformation projects and technical know-how

Restructuring and implementing finance operating models, accounting and finance systems and processes and financial operations may be some of the key projects organisations undertake within finance transformations. Due to their niche nature and technical expertise, candidates with previous experience with transformation projects are in high demand. It’s not just finance transformation projects that help professionals stand out but having the ability to adapt to technological changes and become knowledgeable about finance software will undoubtedly make professionals more desirable over their peers. Among the most appealing technical skills, finance professionals must also have mastery of software such as Microsoft Excel, Power BI, SAP, and a variety of other database management systems and data analytics tools. These finance skills are a great value add and are increasingly in high demand these days from top employers.


Accounting firm experience

Professionals who have had early experience in a Big 4 or Tier 2 accounting firm have an advantage in their respective careers significantly compared to those who don’t. Having the said opportunity gives professionals high exposure to working across diversified sectors and engaging with multiple clients simultaneously. Based on the importance and complexity of the engagements that Big 4 and accounting firms are tasked with and the speed in which professionals need to deliver, makes and allows professionals to acquire, develop and enhance certain skill sets and expertise. Due to the demands of the industry it very rapidly allows professionals to master skills over a short period of time which might otherwise be hard to acquire in other settings. Accounting and finance professionals become more marketable and gain an increase in their value to an organisation if they combine their public accounting experience with hands-on experience within industry roles.


Expertise in IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards)

Large firms and/or multinational corporations demand highly skilled professionals who are familiar with international standards. Those who have acquired and gained knowledge in IFRS put themselves ahead of the rest in terms of attaining greater opportunities to work with some of the top organisations in the Gulf. In the banking and financial sectors, IFRS professionals are in demand as employers require these skills from professionals in order to support in IFRS implementations in their financial reporting.


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