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How to excel in the finance industry: An interview with Employability Business Development Consultant Kareem Hameed

Being successful in the finance industry requires a combination of specific behaviours along with essential technical knowledge and key soft skills. No one knows this better than our Employability Business Development Consultant, Kareem Hameed. We caught up with Kareem to get his advice on areas you can focus on to excel within the finance industry.

By Cara Fielder. Published 08 January 2024.

Current trends

Keeping up to date with economic and market trends is vital. Understanding current economic conditions and market trends allows individuals, businesses and policymakers to make informed decisions. Whether it's investment decisions or business strategies, having up-to-date information helps in making choices that are likely to be more successful and effective.

Staying informed on trends also enables individuals and organisations to identify and manage risks effectively, minimising potential losses and capitalising on opportunities.

Financial tech

Sound technical knowledge of financial analysis including financial modelling and forecasting will always be a requirement. Specific models include:  

  • Income Statement Model: Projects company revenue, expenses, and profits over a specific period.
  • Balance Sheet Model: Represents company assets, liabilities, and equity at a specific point in time.
  • Cash Flow Statement Model: Forecasts the cash inflows and outflows over a given period.

Forecasting models include:

  • Sales Forecast Model: Predicts future sales based on historical data, market trends, and other factors.
  • Expense Forecast Model: Estimates future operating and capital expenses.

Strong quantitative skills and proficiency in financial software used in the industry are essential.

Current popular financial software includes:

  • QuickBooks: Helps with invoicing, expense tracking, financial reporting, and other accounting tasks.
  • Xero: Xero is cloud-based accounting software that helps businesses with invoicing, expense tracking, and financial reporting.
  • Microsoft Excel: Spreadsheet software, widely used for financial modelling budgeting, data analysis, and creating various financial reports

Working in the finance industry also demands competence in risk management and management techniques, which are included within our BSc Accounting with Finance and our MSc Corporate Financial Management.

Soft skills

Strong attention to detail and accuracy are essential soft skills for those working in finance. Good time management ensures employees meet deadlines, and fantastic problem-solving skills enable them to identify issues and develop effective solutions. RSM, a multinational network of accounting firms, that have connections to our Business School, have expressed the importance of soft skills in their candidates.

‘RSM looks for candidates who are always up for a challenge, have the ability to develop an analytical mindset and have strong resilience. Also, teamwork and communication skills are very important.’

Students at The University of Law Business School can make good use of the Employability Team to learn and develop these soft skills to ensure they are equipped for the professional world once they graduate.

Ethics

Ethical conduct, integrity and motivation are essential behaviours for graduates to stand out in this field. Grant Thornton, one of the world’s largest professional services networks, and an employer we work closely with, outlines the importance of graduates exceeding client expectations while adhering to ethical standards on their website.

Highly motivated graduates are also more likely to prioritise continuous learning to ensure their knowledge of financial techniques and strategies remains current.

The finance industry is diverse, with a wide variety of opportunities. Graduates who stand out and go on to enjoy the most successful careers will be those who possess this optimal blend of behaviours, knowledge and skills. This is why, at The University of Law Business School, our degrees are dictated by what is required by industry. For example, our Business Analytics Master’s equips you with the understanding and the skills to problem-solve in technology rich environments and make data driven business decisions. These are skills and traits required within business industries, giving our students the best platform on which to build their career success.

 

Find out more about finance at undergraduate level with our BSc Accounting with Finance, or at postgraduate level with our MSc Corporate Financial Management.