What accountancy roles are high in demand right now?

What accountancy roles are high in demand right now?

As the role of the accountant evolves, what roles are on offer and what skills do you need to excel in them?

Hiring for financial services in the UK still takes place predominantly in the London and the South West areas, and we are finding similar trends within the sector. Regulation changes with GDPR, MiFID II, PSD2 and IFRS updates will dominate the sector; there is a focus on candidates with strong technical skills and similar experience.

Technology will be a big driver, creating roles that partner change around new technologies as firms continue to automate management information, and the improvement in systems has created requirements for accountants to use data in a more meaningful way.

Many companies have seen a particular focus on work-life balance becoming one of the major influencers that tempts top candidates, so companies need to recognise this and accommodate for it at all levels.

Sector-specific candidates are still required for certain businesses and certain sectors, with FMCG, Telco, and IT software businesses especially still looking to recruit in their sectors. More and more technical finance roles are coming up, compared with the finance business partnering opportunities of last year, suggesting that there are limited candidates with these skills in present roles.

How is the accounting and finance sector looking with the progression of Brexit policies?

There has been vast speculation on how Brexit has impacted recruitment in accounting and finance but in truth no one can really measure the impact as no concrete decisions have been put in place. This said, it would be naive to believe there won’t be any consequences for the sector across the UK, even though no impact has been noticeable within the Thames Valley and Middlesex area yet.

Within financial services, certain institutions have announced the movement of functions to Europe, including product control in investment banks and fund accounting while others have committed to staying. Regardless of processes being moved abroad, London will always be an attractive location for financial companies, but at a time of explicit cost saving, businesses may park the blame on Brexit.

On a positive note, there is a demand for project accountants that possess strong system and commercial skills from a financial planning and analysis background.

Is there a high demand for certain roles within accounting and finance?

While there has been mixed demand for roles within financial services so far this year, regulatory change is set to be a major driver for hiring as firms look for experienced professionals. We also predict that there will be a strong pipeline of finance business partnering roles, with demand coming from planning around Brexit as well as digitalisation and technological change.

Experience is the key for permanent roles at the moment. Premium salaries will be offered to key skill sets such as fund controllers with alternative asset class knowledge and strong financial accountants with knowledge of reporting standards.

In the Thames Valley area, which is mainly commerce-led, a large number of clients are recruiting finalist and newly qualified accountants into financial analyst type vacancies. Technical finance senior candidates have also been in high demand, with various technical roles on the market.

What skills and attributes are particularly desirable in accounting and finance at the moment?

Recent changes in the IFRS space means strong knowledge in that area is highly sought-after. Business partnering and working with non-finance are both desirable as technology changes and automation require people to be more involved with decision-making. As ever, strong technical ability and confident commercial personalities are in demand; to secure top roles, you have to possess both.

Just as we’ve seen in recent years, Big Four qualified candidates are like gold dust. Stable CVs that display constant progression are high on the list, as are candidates who have proven experience on consolidations and in a group finance team.

The millennial generation also show an ever-increasing desire for workplace flexibility, and so more employers are introducing measures to support a work-life balance. Working from home and flexible hours are the two main areas of focus.

What one piece of advice would you give someone currently looking for a job in accounting and finance?

Ensure that your CV is as detailed as possible so you stand the best chance of selling yourself in a candidate-led market. If you are looking into interim positions, consider all aspects of the role and lifestyle – it isn’t easy and you need to be comfortable with it!



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