The 10 Most Important Skills For A Successful Career In Finance

Business women and man looking at graphs - accounting

Numeracy is one of the obvious skill, but what other skills would one need to gain a successful career in finance?

We’ve sought advice from Martin Parr, Senior Manager at Sellick Partnership. Martin Parr is a specialist finance and accountancy recruitment firm with offices across the UK. 

Every day Martin works with companies in the finance and accountancy sector who are looking for the latest top-tier talent to add to their ranks.

That means Martin has an in-depth understanding of the skills and characteristics that employers in this competitive industry are seeking, as well as what is required to ensure your career is as rewarding as possible.

So, if you are considering starting a new career in – or changing career to – this diverse and challenging sector, in this post Martin talks you through some of the most important traits and skills that will help you stand out from the crowd.


Perhaps it goes without saying, but in order to take your career in finance to the next level, you need to be confident dealing with numbers.

In many roles, strong numerical skills are a non-negotiable pre-requisite, so you should expect to be tested for your numerical aptitude early on in the recruitment process.


Business women thinking. Sat at desk with laptop.

It is sadly not enough to just be comfortable dealing with numbers. You will also need to understand what they mean.

Analytical skills can really help to set you apart from the competition. If you can easily identify trends, stories and messages in vast amounts of data where others cannot, you will find yourself sought after among employers.


This is an important soft-skill in any job, but it is particularly important in the world of finance.

In your day-to-day role in finance, you will find yourself dealing with those who are not as numerically confident as you, but you will still be expected to discuss complex subject matters and intangible numerical problems.

As a result, you will need to be able to explain your analysis in a straightforward, jargon-free manner that is easy for anyone to understand.

Relationship management

Business women shaking hands

Working in finance carried with it a lot of emphasis on keeping clients happy, and one of the best ways of doing so is to demonstrate to them that you understand their needs, challenges and objectives.

Being empathetic and building trust in this way, and making your clients feel special, is one of the most essential ingredients for winning and keeping business in the long run, and your employers will appreciate you if you can do that.

Willingness to learn

Employees who take responsibility for their own self-development and are serious about learning in order so that they can excel at their job are exceptionally attractive to employers in the finance sector.

Candidates with this characteristic are also often more likely to be innovative and creative, and eager to identify new ways of doing things to save their company and clients time and money.


Culture fit is important in any sector. Finance firms need to know that you are a team player who will complement the employees that they already have at their disposal.

By taking into consideration the feelings and needs of the people you work with, you will contribute towards a positive company culture and productive working environment. This can be an essential skill in stressful or busy offices.

Project management & organisation

Colleagues working on graph with table and laptop

Candidates that can deliver increased profitability in their role – thanks to organisation and efficiency skills – will always catch the eye of employers. It demonstrates that you are as effective as possible with every minute you spend in work.

You will be surrounded every day by people who pride themselves on their attention to detail and analytical skills, so sloppiness is not going to be tolerated.

Market knowledge

In the world of finance, outside factors have a huge impact on your work. It is of the utmost importance that you keep up-to-date with market trends and the latest news in the sectors in which you operate.

Commercial acumen

If you can demonstrate that you understand the key drivers of business growth and how you can directly affect the bottom line of your own company and your clients’ companies, you will be significantly more likely to get ahead in the sector.

It also means you will be able to make long-term, strategic decisions that benefit companies in the long run, which leads us to our final point.


In this industry, you are unlikely to have the luxury of lots of time to make each and every decision. You will find you are expected to make big, important decisions that have a lot riding on them, in a timely manner.

If you are interested in a career in finance, take a look at Sellick Partnership’s vacancies here.

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