This article titled the future of finance and beyond is borne out of curiosity while I was taking a Data Analyst Nano Degree course on Udacity. Yeah, I know, you can call me an infotech accountant. Just for show off, see the certificate here. 😊
A lot of finance and statistical calculations that I usually spend hours doing now done by single line of code written in just few minutes. If you don’t think that I deserve to be called a superhero by this, then I leave it up to you to set a standard that I must achieve to be called a superhero in your terms.
Anyways, back to the topic of the day: the future of finance and beyond. Today, I will be making my own predictions of what I think a finance professional of the future and beyond should look like.
Expected qualities of finance professionals of the future and beyond
It was on the second week of immersing myself into data analysis that I realized that to be relevant and remain relevant in the field of finance both now and in the future, a finance professional must be a master in the ideas listed below. My conclusions were based on my perception of the kind of datasets that I was exposed to
Mastery of the; Theories, Principles, Practices and Application of finance concepts
The foundation of any discipline cannot be relegated to the background without some serious consequences. Neglect mastering the foundational concepts of any the field at your peril. No matter how mathematically savvy someone is, he or she cannot easily make mathematical construct of a concept that he or she has not fully grasped.
Every other points discussed in this article on the future of finance and beyond would be meaningless if your core finance foundation is shaky – make sure to keep learning and keeping your knowledge of finance concepts up to scratch.
Mastery of technology in general
I don’t need to say much here in order to convince you that you need to be very technology savvy if you really want to be counted amongst future finance professionals. Learning how to code as a finance person is the very least you can do for your career in finance. There is so much to gain from learning to program than there is to lose by doing so.
As a finance person, I strongly recommend you start by learning computer programming using python programming language. You may want to know how I learnt to program as an accountant just for some motivation. Also, remember that digital transformation has come to stay.
Mastery of analytical tools
There is plethora of finance analytical tools now available for finance and scientific computation that you must master for you to remain relevant in the financial ecosystem. Some of the most popular tools are: (1) Python programming language, (2) R programming language, (3) Pandas – a package within the python ecosystem, (4) Numpy – a popular package amongst pythonisters built for complex mathematical computation.
With mastery of the above-mentioned tools, a finance professional will be well equipped to write predictive models. In fact, being able to build predictive models in finance is a game changer. Another cool thing that you can do for the end users of your financial information is to be able to build useful dashboard.
Mastery of programmatic thinking
Critical thinking skill is one invaluable soft skill that programming gives any individual who spend time to master the sequential process of programmatic thinking. The advent of digital finance powered by the power of fintech startups have caused all sorts of disruption in the world of finance. This in turn puts finance professionals under all sorts of pressure to think outside the box.
As a finance professional who has the power of programmatic thinking under his or her belt, meeting the ever-increasing pressure emanating from the disruptive effects of digital finance will not be too demanding considering the level of exposure that programmatic thinking has given him or her.
Mastery of communication
During the duration of my course with Udacity, it wasn’t long before I realized that the importance of communication in finance is just as crucial. It is one thing to be very proficient in data wrangling (gather data, assess the data, clean the data, and visualize the insights).
But being able to tell the story behind the whole process of data wrangling is the most important aspect of the whole exercise. Many authoritative figures in the field of data science have concluded that the whole process of data wrangling will be futile if meaningful connection is not made when communicating the findings from dataset investigation.
Same can be said in the field of finance. There will be no point putting in all the effort into analyzing all forms of financial data if the insight(s) is not properly communicated to the end users of the informational output from the process.
To cut it in the area of current finance and the future, you really need to take your communication skills very seriously. Learn to effectively communicate through story telling.
Mastery of psychology
Behavioral finance has long been established as a vital pillar of modern finance. So, being a master of this aspect of finance is one of the greatest things that any finance professional who still wants to remain relevant in the financial ecosystem needs to take very seriously. I strongly believe that being very good at psychology will not only give a finance professional an edge but would make that person stand out both now and tomorrow.
Mastery of political economy
Just as politics and business work hand in hand, finance and political economy can be said to be inseparable. As a finance professional that wants to still be invited to the table of decision makers at the summit, you will be doing yourself a very big disservice if you completely form a deaf ear to political economy.
How did I manage to know this you are asking? Well, I analyzed some real life interesting political economy datasets recently while on the course I talked about at the beginning of this article on the future of finance and beyond.
Please note that the points discussed in this article on the future of finance and beyond are not just quantitative finance. They are beyond simple number crunching as many would think. Being a number cruncher alone cannot make you a future ready financier.