Business – Use part-qualifieds to fight Y2K

Businesses have been told to take on more part-qualified accountants in a bid to beat the year-2000 bug.

But the advice, from recruitment company FSS Financial, won a muted response from accountancy bodies and finance directors.

According to FSS, a skills shortage for year-2000 and euro-compliance work has meant ‘blinkered’ employers waste time and money by only hiring qualified accountants.

Belinda Bridgman, group director of FSS Financial, said: ‘Most part-qualified accountants now available for EMU or year-2000 roles tend to be from Australia and New Zealand. They’ve studied accountancy from the equivalent of GCSE level to degree standard and don’t cost as much.’

She added: ‘Qualified accountants will still earn more when they qualify.’

Neil Chisman, finance director of Stakis, the hotel and casino operator, said part-qualified accountants were undervalued by industry, but remained wary about taking on contractors. ‘They learn everything about your business and then they disappear,’ he said.

Chas Roy-Chowdhury, ACCA senior technical officer, emphasised the advantages of recruiting qualified accountants. ‘There’s nothing wrong with taking on part-qualifieds, but organisations shouldn’t lower their expectations. Qualified accountants give more continuity and have greater experience.’

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