Perhaps more than in any other industry, professional designations are critical in finance and accounting. Even people without knowledge of finance have heard of a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Chartered Accountant (CA), Certified Management Accountant (CMA) and Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designations. These qualifications are absolute musts for many jobs.

Technical Skills
From finance technician to accountant and controller to tax analyst, every job has its own skill requirements. Those skills also vary depending on your level of responsibility.

While junior employees might focus on data entry, bookkeeping, issuing checks and posting transactions, senior staff may be required to implement new accounting practices, prepare corporate budgets and financial statements, develop financial reporting mechanisms and work with regulators and external auditors.

Management-level jobs require specific skills like supervising, training and evaluating staff, managing projects and schedules, ensuring compliance with policies and so on.

Soft Skills
Like other jobs, finance and accounting positions require a whole slew of soft skills. Just about every posting in the field lists planning and organizational abilities, multitasking, analytical and problem-solving skills, communication skills, the capacity to work without supervision while under pressure and the ability to work well in teams and on your own.

Particularly relevant for workers who manage company funds are qualities like attention to detail, accuracy and a highly developed sense of discretion and confidentiality.

Computer Skills
No matter what the opening, you will not get far without proficiency in the Microsoft Office Suite, particularly Excel. You may also have to be familiar with industry-specific software like Great Plains, QuickBooks, Simply Accounting, SAP, CaseWare, tax preparation software and Audit Command Language.