Front-Office Business and Project Manager: Martin Long Explains What a Career at the Sharp End Entails
Long, Martin, Financial Management (UK)
If the advert on the right looks like an opportunity you haven't seen much before, then you'd be absolutely right. Such positions are rare--or perhaps I should say "were rare", because over the past few years the number of job specifications centred on project-driven work, as opposed to more technical areas, has increased.
What makes this type of job so appealing is that it offers the chance to work right at the coalface of frenetic deal-making. The most typical accounting positions tend to be located in the traditional middle office, so that in itself makes the advertised role fairly unusual. Unfortunately, this distinctiveness can sometimes suggest a certain amount of exclusivity in terms of the person required. I often receive queries from CIMA-qualified candidates who worry that roles such as these are the preserve of ICAEW members. This is simply not the case. What matters here is not the qualification but the added benefits that someone's personality and business brain can bring to the employer. Given this particular vacancy's focus on budgeting, forecasting, reporting and analysis, you could argue that a CIMA member would in fact have an excellent head-start in the selection stakes.
Some of the key phrases to pick up on in the advert are the references to "strong communication skills" and "presenting business information to the executive management committee". In other words, shrinking violets and nervous speakers need not apply. This position requires someone who can present the numbers clearly, explain trends and stand their ground under questioning. The personal qualities you would need to demonstrate at interview are that you can be assertive yet calm, and quick-witted yet methodical.
Another key area that the job description clearly focuses on is the business/project-driven nature of the role. Again, you can see this in phrases such as "the ability to think laterally" and "improve the firm's business development and marketing efforts". The right person would need to demonstrate their ability from previous roles to make a real commercial difference.
Something that isn't immediately evident from the advert is the type of experience a candidate will need in order to be considered. From my knowledge of recruiting for such positions, roles at this level in the financial services industry do require people with experience in a similar institution. …