Many jobs require a specific type of person in order to provide the results you desire as an employer. Oftentimes, people in certain professions naturally have a couple of these qualities, making it easy for recruiters to find.
However, finding someone with all of the qualities may be more of a challenge. Narrowing down good employee characteristics of finance staff to a few key traits will help when choosing who to hire, especially when all the candidates have the same level of experience and core skills.
In order to avoid confusion, characteristics are defined as distinguishing traits, qualities, or properties.
Skills are defined as the ability to use one’s knowledge effectively and readily in execution or performance.
It should go without saying when handling the finances of any person or organization, there is a certain level of trust needed. In line with the strict rules and regulations surrounding finance, being trustworthy with a high degree of integrity are essential characteristics of high-level finance employees.
This characteristic makes an individual accountable for their actions. When in a leadership position, they also become accountable for the actions of their team. Finance leaders with this characteristic will take responsibility for any errors that may occur instead of passing the blame, even if it was made by their team. This type of attitude is contagious and will help create a culture of accountability within the team and possibly the organization.
Professionals with these characteristics will also tend to be problem solvers and take the initiative when problems arise.
Proactive Problem Solver
Having proactive problem-solver qualities means having an employee who will take problems head-on instead of trying to pawn them off on others or saving them for later. These people will take on problems others don’t want. You and the rest of their team will be able to rely on them whenever faced with a challenge.
Another way to view a proactive problem solver is to see them as a solutions-focused individual. This means that they’re more focused on solutions, meaning they’ll be open to suggestions from other sources as they’ll actually take them into consideration as opposed to brushing them off.
Having an employee in the finance department take the initiative when a problem arises could make the difference between a problem that is solved quickly versus one that grows into something much more troublesome.
Being able to communicate with a wide range of people, as certain problems require a specific type of specialist to fix, is a key skill to look for when searching for people.
While not specific to finance employees, being an adaptive communicator is a highly sought-after characteristic. Any and all teams benefit from someone who can effectively communicate with others.
In order for communication to be effective, participants must be able to both effectively articulate their thoughts and actively listen to others.
Proper articulation, or being able to accurately and effectively express your thoughts or feelings, is important in being an effective communicator. The basic ability of being able to speak will only get you so far. Being able to properly explain something to any audience will ensure that the message is received. In order to explain something clearly to any audience, a person has to be an expert on the topic and have the ability to express the idea in a multitude of ways.
Active listening is the other half of being a great communicator. It is a challenge for most to actively listen because most people just sit through speeches to share their opinions. Active listening is listening to understand, meaning you’re processing the information as it’s being relayed to you. This type of listening is helpful in communication as it allows you to gauge where everyone stands on certain subjects.
Being an adaptive communicator involves both articulation and active listening. Not everyone communicates the same, being able to switch to a method of communication that fits the intended audience will allow for messages to actually be understood.
This can be seen when talking to someone more technical than others. In an extreme example, being able to explain a complex topic to someone in the same field as you and being able to take that information, condense it, and give it to a child and have them understand it is an example of being an adaptive communicator.
All of this would allow someone in the finance department to be able to explain complex finance items, such as financial reports to people in other departments. Being able to explain the significance of financial information to those who have no real interest in the minutia of financial details will prove to be an invaluable skill and can even inspire more informed decisions being made based on the financial data gathered.
The ability to gather and break down financial information is critical for a finance professional to be successful. Having an analytical mind is required for all high-level finance positions, as even the smallest of errors can cause legal blowback.
Being able to break down problems into bite-sized pieces adds to the problem-solving characteristic mentioned earlier. Tackling problems head-on is good, but breaking them down into sections to be taken on one at a time can make situations significantly easier.
In a bookkeeping example, doing monthly reconciliations will help when asked to look for irregularities or errors.
Another characteristic not specific to the finance industry but highly sought after would be having a growth mindset. A growth mindset is described as an idea that someone’s skills or talents can be developed by working hard and taking input from others.
Simply having an open mind and being able to adapt doesn’t mean you have a growth mindset, as a growth mindset rewards learning and progress that lead to successful outcomes. A growth mindset means actively working to improve, the operative word being active.
Having someone with a growth mindset in a financial team will translate to better collaboration within the team. This is due to the active approach taken when it comes to taking on tasks. The active approach can come in the form of initiating collaboration within the team or within the whole organization whenever applicable.
All interactions with someone with this characteristic will be collaborative instead of competitive, which incentivizes more people to contribute. In addition, any criticisms given to someone with a growth mindset will be used to improve, whereas the usual response will be a bit more defensive or in extreme cases, more combative.
A growth mindset gives a financial professional the ability to grow into the position, no matter what level the position is. This characteristic allows for new hires to integrate successfully into a new company and shortens the period of adjustment that takes place when moving into a new job.
The Wrap Up
Many of the general characteristics that make a good employee are the same ones that make a good financial employee. In the case of financial professionals, some of these characteristics are hard requirements as opposed to optional ones.
Trust, for example, is required as the finances of a company are incredibly important and can make or break the company. Whether it’s for a manager position or a rank-and-file position, being able to communicate properly with the team is a necessity. It also aids in the solving of problems when they arise. Being able to quickly pivot, analyze, take in suggestions from others, and come up with a viable solution to a problem is an indispensable skill within a financial team.