Five key skills for future-proof interim financial accountants

Jose Bokhorst

As an interim financial accountant upskilling may not be your priority in today’s job market. However, it is wise to keep developing your skill set as an investment for the future. Luuk de Haas, recruitment consultant interim finance, gives an overview of skills that are in high demand within any organisation..


Experience with SAP S/4HANA

SAP S/4HANA has already been on the market for seven years and continues being the number one ERP system for most large organisations. De Haas: ‘About two third of all large organisations in The Netherlands work with SAP so experience with this system is key for professionals that are considering a switch to a multinational.’

Meanwhile the support for the previous version, SAP R/3, is slowly declining which results in a growing number of companies moving to the next version of SAP S/4HANA.

De Haas: ‘I recommend financial accountants that do not have experience with this system yet, or would like to brush up their knowledge, to take a course that helps them understand the basics of SAP. Even if the focus is not on SAP S/4 HANA, working knowledge of the basics of the programme will definitely boost your position in the market.’

Consolidation and reconciliation tools

As a financial accountant within a multinational it is already a plus if you are familiar with the consolidation of income statements of different countries, sees De Haas. That does not need to include the whole region but perhaps the results of two, three or even four countries. Additionally, if you know your way around consolidation and reconciliation tools such as HFM and Blackline you are definitely standing out from the crowd.

Bonus: Do you also speak French, German or Polish? In that case multinationals will be even more interested to get you on board. Speaking a second or third language is not only very useful when collaborating with colleagues in countries for which you need to consolidate the financial results, many large organisations have moved to outsourcing and insourcing their financial accounting activities to Eastern Europe. For these organisations you would be able to train colleagues in their native language. But not to worry for those who are less gifted with multilingual skills, currently most of the communication is still in English.

People skills

Although for the outside world the accountant may still have the image of being surrounded by numbers and Excel sheets, insiders know that having great people skills is crucial. Cooperating, gathering data from co-workers and strict deadlines are key elements of the role which make it important to be a skilled communicator. De Haas: ‘Especially as an interim professional working on temporary assignments it is important to be empathic and have great stakeholder management skills to make sure people enjoy working with you.’

Compliance en internal checks

Every organisation has its own internal control framework containing subjects such as the four-eye-principle and Sox-regulations. As an interim financial accountant working on assignments for multiple organisations it is important to have decent knowledge on these subjects to be able to work effectively within such a framework.

De Haas: 'Once you have worked on a number of assignments it will become easier to adjust to different frameworks at different clients. By then you will also have the knowledge to discuss the effects that adjustments within the framework may have on the finance department. Therefore it is wise to keep your knowledge of compliance up to date.'

Don't have it all? Don't worry!

Even if you do not possess all these skills there is no need to worry. De Haas: ‘The more assignments you work on, the more you will be able to develop yourself. And luckily, there are plenty of interim assignments for financial accountants to choose from in the current labour market.’

More information

Ready for your next project? Check out our current interim assignments for financial accountants.
Are your rates still on par with the current market? Download the Robert Walters Salary Survey to find out. For an expert’s advice please contact Luuk de Haas via or tel +31 20 644 4655.

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