A third of employers in accounting and finance unaware of Apprenticeship Levy

A third of employers in accounting and finance unaware of Apprenticeship Levy

While the sector has made some gains, there is more to be done to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the Apprenticeship Levy

A third of employers in accounting and finance unaware of Apprenticeship Levy

Accounting and finance firms are among those who, in many cases, are not aware of the Apprenticeship Levy or taking advantage of the opportunity it represents, according to a survey by Alliance Manchester Business School.

That is despite evidence from AAT which found that in 2017/18, accounting apprenticeship registrations across levels 2-4 increased by 12 percent compared to the previous year.

That was against an overall 24 percent drop in apprenticeship starts across all sectors over the same period.

Despite that uptake, the Alliance Manchester Business School found that 33 percent of employers in accounting and finance were still unaware of the Apprenticeship Levy.

When it came to employees, of those questioned in the survey, carried out by YouGov, 56 per cent said they knew nothing about it.

Nevertheless, a third of GB accounting and finance businesses – 32 per cent – are worried about maintaining quality teams in the next two years.

That was despite 21 percent admitting they offer no formal professional development for their staff. Meanwhile, 77 percent of employees in the sector said quality training was an important factor when deciding whether to stay in or leave a job.

UK plc is still lagging behind its G7 counterparts in productivity. The Chartered Management Institute suggests this is down to poor management training.

Dr David Lowe, programme director of MDc Management Practice at Alliance Manchester Business School said: “This survey clearly shows that the limited awareness of the Apprenticeship Levy spans the entire workplace, with employees as well as business decision makers knowing very little about it and therefore the opportunities it offers.”

What is the Apprenticeship Levy?

Employers with a pay bill of over £3 million per year must pay the Apprenticeship Levy. This came into force in April 2017.

They can then receive funds which go towards the training and assessment of apprentices. It cannot be used to fund other expenses, such as apprentices’ wages. The funds are only available for two years and can be used for apprenticeship training from entry level to master’s degree level.

The Alliance Manchester Business School research found that more than a third, 35 percent, of employers in the accounting and finance sector, saw it as “just another tax” on business.

Nearly one in three (31 percent) said it had made no difference to the training they offer.

‘Surprising’ results

A spokesman for AAT, which provides support to apprentices , described the results as “surprising.”

CEO Mark Farrar said: “Accounting apprenticeships, in an otherwise difficult climate for apprenticeships since the levy’s introduction, have performed very well.

“In 2017/18, accounting apprenticeship registrations across levels 2-4 increased by 12% compared to the previous year, against an overall 24% drop in apprenticeship starts across all sectors over the same period.

“That said, there is undoubtedly plenty of work to do to educate firms across all sectors, including finance and accounting, as to the advantages that apprenticeships can bring.”

The rise of 12 percent does relate to all accountancy apprenticeships, and not necessarily accounting firms themselves that have offered the apprenticeships.

AAT also pointed out that the Alliance Manchester Business School survey does not differentiate between big accounting firms, smaller ones (to which the Levy may not apply), and other firms in the general finance sector.

However, even after taking these variables into account, the sector still fares better than many others.

In medical and health services, 70 percent of employees know nothing about the Apprenticeship Levy. That compares with 67 percent in the legal sector, and 62 percent in retail.

 

 

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