By Forbes Finance Council, Forbes featuring By JC Abusaid, CEO/President

Though recent technological advances have had a disruptive effect across the business landscape, success in the finance industry demands more than just technological know-how. As the workplace continues to evolve, there’s a growing emphasis on a broader range of skills that complement technical expertise. These skills are becoming key differentiators for finance professionals to stand out and thrive in a competitive, rapidly changing field.

Which skills should today’s finance professionals use to best serve their clients and continue to grow? Below, members of Forbes Finance Council share 20 skills to cultivate if you want to stay relevant and be successful.

1. Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is a crucial skill for finance professionals in the evolving workplace. The ability to manage one’s own emotions and understand and influence the emotions of others can lead to better collaboration, leadership and client relationships. EQ involves skills like empathy and social awareness, which are vital for navigating complex interpersonal dynamics in the business world. – David Chavez, CVS Health

2. The Ability To Connect Across Verticals

The ability to engage with stakeholders across verticals is becoming the most important skill a finance professional can possess. A successful finance professional needs to not only be an expert in their field but also possess a network to tap into expertise in intersecting fields. Identifying opportunities to interact with diverse sets of stakeholders will be critical for success moving forward. – Reed Luhtanen, U.S. Faster Payments Council

3. Empathy

In a world full of bits and bytes, one of the most important skill sets for everyone is empathy. This is especially true for those in finance. While we create tech solutions to help solve people’s problems—we can’t do it well unless we learn to listen and empathize, to truly understand where people come from and what’s important to them. – Theodora Lau, Unconventional Ventures

4. Relationships And Business Acumen

Relationships and business acumen are crucial. Finance professionals should be equipped with the ability to establish and maintain strong connections with key stakeholders, and have street-smart insight into how businesses operate, make money and sustain profitable growth, now and in the future. This is a skill that is highly necessary for any finance professional who wants to be relevant in the future. – Mohammed Olatunji, Moremonee Limited

5. Strategic Knowledge

Finance professionals will need to understand strategy as the future workplace continues to evolve. As the world continues to develop—and new technologies, new ways of working and the everchanging geo-social-political climate are present—the finance lead will need to identify those factors that may have an impact and participate in the company-level strategic discussion to proactively address them. – Shannon Power, Scope AR

6. Critical Thinking

The No. 1 skill most in demand for finance professionals is strategic and critical thinking, followed by communications and storytelling, along with data analytics. These all form what we refer to as a “T-shaped professional”—boundary-crossing skills across the top of the T, on top of the deep technical accounting and finance skills. – Tom Hood, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants & the Business Learning Institute

7. Soft Skills Mixed With Client Information

Emotional intelligence and empathy are key. Technology will be able to help say what to do, but we know people can’t and don’t do what they know they should do. If they did, we would all be wealthy, in great shape, reading 40 books a year and so on. Financial professionals need to mix the soft skills and the info, meet their clients where they are and help them devise a plan and stick to it. – Rafael Loureiro,

8. Research And Innovation

The best skill known to man, in order to survive, is the skill to adapt. Study trends and new technologies to see where we are headed. Learn to innovate to stay ahead of technology and use it for your needs before it replaces you. The world has always changed. Study the evolution of industries. Adapt and create your own future. – Sharon Bloodworth, White Oaks Wealth Advisors

9. Comprehension Of Credit Reports

Finance professionals should know how to access credit reports for individuals, how to read and interpret them and how to guide individuals to address material inaccuracies in those reports. – Adam Singer, Credit Report Law Group

10. Self-Presentation

Regardless of technology, finance professionals need to be able to present themselves as uniquely qualified to serve the client. What is it that makes you different or more qualified than the other professionals? Is your story compelling? Does it sound like everyone else’s? Is it truly different? If you cannot articulate why you are different and why you are better prepared to serve, you lose. – Michael Seltzer, Vérité Group, LLC

11. Relationship Management

Relationship management within the wrapper of “service,” having always been important, is a business imperative. Technology, while pursuing efficiency, impacts relationship management. Advisors seeking to differentiate themselves in seemingly commoditized marketplaces must appreciate that research shows a majority of clients leave their advisor—not for a lack of expertise, but of service. – Thomas H. Ruggie, ChFC® CFP®, Destiny Family Office

12. Adaptability

As technology advances and the business landscape changes, finance professionals must be able to adapt to new processes, tools and ways of working and engaging. This includes being open and accepting to learn new skills, embracing change and being flexible in their approach to problem-solving. Adaptability allows professionals to stay current with industry trends, regulations and emerging tech. – Monica Hovsepian, OpenText

13. Curiosity

Maintaining a high level of curiosity is critical in an ever-changing workplace. Whether it is returning to the office, investing in new technology or bringing in new talent, constantly finding innovative ways to level up will serve you well in the financial space and beyond. While it may sound cliché, curiosity is repeatedly encouraged for a reason—it works. – Omar Choucair, Trintech

14. Perseverance

Perseverance is vital. We need to be ready to pivot and adjust at any time to fluctuating conditions. The way to succeed in any environment is by taking one step at a time, understanding that business cycles come and go, and maintaining confidence that a new rhythm will emerge. Take the next step. Do the next best thing. Focus on the highest use of your time. – Kirk Mann, Mitsubishi HC Capital America

15. Conflict Resolution

People are returning to the office, at least part-time. That means more face time and more conflicts. Existing technology is not going to substitute for conflict resolution. While AI apps might give suggested ways of handling a tricky conversation, it’s still not acceptable to send your AI app to interact for you. Learning how to effectively and efficiently deal with conflict is a crucial skill. – Carolina Martinez, CAMEO

16. Data Analysis

Technical expertise alone won’t be enough. It requires a thorough comprehension of how to use statistics and data to inform decisions. The capacity for data analysis is necessary. Knowing what’s going on behind the numbers will help you make better judgments and can improve your understanding of clients. The conduct will reveal patterns, enabling them to pinpoint just what they require. – Neil Anders, Trusted Rate, Inc.

17. Inclusive Communication

As demographics shift, both employees and customers of financial institutions will come from increasingly diverse backgrounds. Inclusive communication and leadership skills will be crucial for success. Financial professionals who can communicate with a broader array of people will have a strategic advantage within the workplace, as well as when it comes to attracting and retaining clients. – Monique Johnson, Beneficial State Bank

18. Mentorship

The industry suffers from a lack of talent entering its workspace, and mentoring offers the next generation more opportunities to grow and thrive. With succession planning always top of mind, there needs to be a better balance between the drive for individual success with mentorship. – John Abusaid, Halbert Hargrove

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