Skills International Development And Assistance Researcher in Canada

Find out what skills you typically need to work as an international development and assistance researcher in Canada. These skills are applicable to all Business development officers and marketing researchers and consultants (NOC 4163).

Skills and knowledge

The following skills and knowledge are usually required in this occupation.

Essential skills

See how the 9 essential skills apply to this occupation. This section will be updated soon.

  • Read reminders, e.g. read reminders to learn the times of upcoming meetings. (1)
  • Read letters, e.g. read letters to learn about clients' requests and information about business plans. (2)
  • Read text in a variety of forms, e.g. read text in application forms and licenses to learn about business operations. (2)
  • Read promotional materials, e.g. read marketing materials to learn how firms promote themselves and their products and services. (3)
  • Read business magazines and newspapers to learn about trends in the economy, business financing and entrepreneurship. (3)
  • Read instructions and procedures, e.g. read instructions to learn about the installation and use of financial planning software. (3)
  • Read criteria and guidelines, e.g. read criteria to determine a client's eligibility to access small business grants. (4)
  • Read research reports, economic forecasts and marketing studies, e.g. read reports from the Conference Board of Canada to learn about the short- and medium-term economic and profitability outlooks for the retail sector. (4)
  • Read business and marketing plans, e.g. read business plans to learn about a firm's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. (4)
  • Read contracts, e.g. read contracts between clients and suppliers to determine obligations, such as the terms and conditions of long term leases. (4)
Document use
  • Locate data, such as dates, locations, inventory turns, times, quantities and sales, in sales summaries and reports. (2)
  • Locate data in charts, e.g. study critical path charts created using project management software to learn about the order of tasks and the deadlines of project activities. (2)
  • Locate data on graphs, e.g. scan bar and pie charts to locate data, such as sales completed and market shares achieved. (3)
  • Locate data in complex tables, e.g. locate codes, dates, locations, values, revenues and expenses in ledgers and financial statements. (3)
  • May interpret planograms, e.g. study planograms to determine the dimensions and set up of product displays. (3)
  • May study scale drawings, e.g. study the floor plans of retail establishments to determine traffic flows and the appropriate placement of displays and merchandise. (3)
  • Write reminders and short notes, e.g. write reminders to record the tasks to be completed before future meetings with clients. (1)
  • Write messages, e.g. write email messages to clients to provide updates about the work completed and tasks remaining. (2)
  • Write case notes, e.g. write case notes to summarize activities undertaken with clients and their outcomes. (2)
  • May write contracts and letters of agreement outlining contractual obligations between themselves and their clients. (3)
  • Write reports, e.g. write reports that provide an analysis of a client's business opportunities and threats and outlines recommendations. (4)
  • May write articles for magazines, newspapers, marketing materials or brochures, giving the latest trends in small business development or tips for financing a business. (4)
  • May write promotional materials, e.g. write text for brochures to promote their firm's products and services. (4)
  • May write training materials for courses on entrepreneurship. (4)
  • May edit and write business documents, e.g. write narrative sections of proposals and business plans for use by financiers which succinctly outline strategies and opportunities. (4)
  • May measure the length of time it takes clients to serve customers and complete financial transactions. (1)
  • Compare labour costs and gross profit margins of a business to industry averages. (1)
  • Calculate performance indicators, such as average sales per hour, sales per employee and sales per store. (2)
  • Analyze financial data to determine turns, product demand and sales by category. (2)
  • Calculate invoice amounts and verify totals. They calculate the direct costs of labour, professional fees, materials, supplies and permits and include provisions for profit and applicable taxes. (3)
  • May create and modify project schedules to ensure the timely, orderly and efficient completion of projects. (3)
  • Prepare sales and inventory reports and calculate labour costs and gross margins on sales. (3)
  • Analyze financial data, such as returns on investment, debt ratios and gross margins, to establish the financial health of a business. (3)
  • May analyze statistics from client surveys and other forms of research to draw conclusions about a firm's products and services. (3)
  • Estimate the start-up costs of a business when giving advice to a client. (3)
  • Prepare budgets and cash flow projections, e.g. forecast monthly expenditures and revenues for business plans and company expansions. (4)
Oral communication
  • Provide instructions to office staff, e.g. ask office assistants to print a set of reports. (1)
  • Speak with suppliers, e.g. speak with suppliers about the products and services they offer. (2)
  • Exchange information with potential clients, e.g. provide information about the services they provide and answer questions about their rates and fees. (2)
  • Complete sales calls, e.g. call prospective clients to discuss their need for business consulting services. (2)
  • Exchange technical information with colleagues and other professionals, e.g. speak with lawyers about a client's patents and licensing agreements and with bankers to learn more about the criteria for bank loans. (3)
  • Exchange information with clients, e.g. discuss new ideas for business ventures, provide feedback on business plans and discuss strategies to decrease costs and improve revenues. (3)
  • May present to large groups, e.g. present information to gatherings at a Chambers of Commerce to promote sound business practices and their services. (4)
  • Encounter dissatisfied clients. They speak with the clients about their concerns and attempt to negotiate resolutions by changing their approaches and modifying timelines. (2)
  • Discover they cannot meet deadlines. They set priorities, mobilize resources and negotiate with clients to extend deadlines. (2)
  • Decide which clients to work with. They base their decision of factors, such as the needs of the client, the scope of their operations and the business sector they operate within. (2)
  • Decide on the type and amount of research needed to establish whether markets are available for potential new products and businesses. (2)
  • Encounter errors and omissions in business documents, such as income statements, provided to them by clients. They work with clients and their bookkeepers to improve accounting practices and recommend the use of business and accounting software applications to streamline their operations and improve the accuracy of reports. (3)
  • Encounter clients with unrealistic expectations, such as doubling sales without increasing marketing budgets. They speak with clients about their expectations and offer insight into the practices of successful business owners. (3)
  • Set margins and sales targets for clients by considering the value proposition of their products, stiffness of competition, marketing budgets and the expected impact of new marketing campaigns and promotions. (3)
  • Evaluate a firm's business practices. They consider factors, such as the quality of financial reports, staff satisfaction levels, use of standardized policies and procedures, safety records and their profitability compared to those of similar businesses. (3)
  • Organize their own schedule, subject to general guidance from supervisors, where applicable. They determine the timelines appropriate to accomplish various jobs and they juggle tasks to ensure that the highest priorities are addressed first. They respond to interruptions that may occur throughout the day from walk-in clients or from phone calls that require immediate follow-up. Their job task planning and organizing takes into account the need to feed into deadlines set elsewhere. For instance, if a client has an appointment with a bank manager about a business loan, or with a realtor about a building lease, it is important for the counsellors to meet with the client first to provide information or advice, if the client so desires. (3)
  • Learn about a firm's products through physical inspection, by reading promotional materials, such as brochures, and by speaking with clients, staff and customers. (3)
  • Learn about a client's business practices by reading financial statements, policy manuals and comments collected from customers and by speaking with clients, staff and customers. (3)
  • Learn about businesses' threats and opportunities by speaking with colleagues and other business professions and by reading business plans, economic forecasts and consumer trend research. (3)
  • Decide upon the business practices and marketing strategies best suited to a client. They consider the client's expectations for growth, the business sector they operate within, financial resources available for marketing and the overall value proposition of the client's products and services. (4)
  • Evaluate the value proposition of a firm's products and services. They consider factors, such as quality, warranties, price points and product distribution. (4)
  • Evaluate the appropriateness of various business and marketing strategies for a client. They consider the client's experience and expectations for growth, the business sector they operate within and the financial resources available for operations, such as staffing and marketing. (4)
Digital technology
  • May operate hand-held devices, such as calculators, to complete numerical tasks. (1)
  • May operate electronic office equipment, such as printers, scanners, fax machines, copiers and postage meters. (1)
  • Use graphics software to edit and create slideshows for use during sales presentations and meetings with financiers, such as banks. (2)
  • Use databases to input and access information about their clients and create mailing lists. (2)
  • Use communication software to exchange email and attachments with clients, financiers and colleagues. (2)
  • Use communication software to manage job tasks and schedule meetings. (2)
  • May use bookkeeping, billing and accounting software to generate sales summaries and income and expense statements. (2)
  • Use Internet browsers to conduct research and access online trade publications to stay current on industry trends and practices. (2)
  • May use the Internet to access blogs and web forums where they seek and offer advice to other business professionals. (2)
  • Use the Internet to download and submit business forms. (2)
  • Use advanced features of word processing programs to create business plans that include tables, graphs and indexes created in other software applications. (3)
  • Use advanced features of spreadsheet software to create budgets spanning three or more years. (3)
  • Use advanced features of spreadsheet software to collect, analyze and graph financial information. (3)
  • May use advanced features of spreadsheet software to create probabilistic financial models, e.g. use features, such as "what if" scenarios, to forecast profitability under various economic conditions. (3)
  • May use advanced features of project management software to record activities, establish timelines, schedule activities, balance workloads and print reports. (3)
Additional informationWorking with Others

Small business counsellors mostly work independently. They may partner at times with colleagues, with one counsellor concentrating on the market research side and the other on the financing side. They sometimes engage in a team initiative, combining their efforts with those of other agencies, such as economic development groups.

Continuous Learning

Small business counsellors learn on the job and through trade shows, conferences and workshops. They network with other counsellors and with industry spokespersons to improve their knowledge. They also maintain an inventory of publications and other learning materials, both for their own use and to lend to clients as required. They use their own experience of running a small business in order to provide advice to others. Junior level consultants learn from interacting with their more experienced colleagues.

Labour Market Information Survey
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