Accounting and Finance - Commerce and Industry 2016 Salary Guide

David Leithead 25.02.2016

At Morgan McKinley, we endeavor to provide up-to-date market insight and expert knowledge on your sector. Here we offer key recruiter information within the commerce and industry divisions of Accountancy and Finance sector, covering permanent salaries across London, South West England and the Home Counties.

View our most up-to-date Accounting & Finance C&I Salary Guide.

London

More recruitment activity and rising salaries at mid-career level

We saw an overall quarter-on-quarter increase throughout 2015 across all sectors and levels of permanent hiring, in particular retail, technology, media and professional services. The only sector that was a little sluggish was energy and natural resources, which simply reflects the recent turmoil that has hit that market.

During the second half of 2015, we saw an upward trend in permanent salaries at the mid-career level (newly-qualified and just above) in the order of 7-10%. Accounting and finance professionals in this space are now earning salaries in the upper forties or even as much as £50k. This is down to the improvement in the market and general economic confidence than any significant talent shortage, i.e. a correction to salaries that had been held down for some years. We therefore, expect the rate of increase in salaries to slow down somewhat in 2016.

However, the market has clearly shifted in favour of candidates, who are now likely to receive several offers if they put themselves forward. Conversely, hiring organisations can no longer always be sure of securing their candidate of choice unless they make an offer towards the top of the salary bracket and sell the position well in terms of the breadth of the role and opportunities for career progression.

We have seen a slight shift in emphasis in hiring organisations’ requirements, with strong IFRS 102 technical reporting experience in demand for compliance purposes, but demand has been strong across the board. In commerce and industry, the gender balance is fairly even at junior to mid levels though females employees are still substantially under-represented in a leadership capacity.

Strong growth at the start and end of the year

The volume of contract and interim positions increased significantly in 2015, with most of the growth in the first and fourth quarters. There seemed to be some uncertainty about the strength of the economic recovery midway through the year. The main growth sectors were retail, media, technology, property and professional services. There was far more activity among SMEs, especially in the technology sector, than in 2014.

Whereas in the past contractors were utilised to alleviate pressure when there was no budget for additional permanent headcount, for the majority, this is no longer the case. Any additional hiring, including contractors, is closely scrutinised for the impact it will have on the bottom line. The growth in contract hires therefore tends to reflect, along with permanent hires, business expansion. Appointments are more strategic and we have seen some shift from day rates to fixed-term contracts. 

The day rates themselves have moved upwards for recently qualified accountants but are generally fairly flat and will probably not increase significantly in 2016. Project-based roles were predominantly related to technical reporting around IFRS changes.

The market for senior level accounting and finance professionals was also flat, with many experienced contract professionals having to look further afield to find a suitable appointment. Approximately 60% of such appointments are related to organisational restructuring. We continue to receive a good number of applications for contract and interim positions from overseas candidates, typically from Australia and New Zealand. They have Tier 5 visas and have qualified to the same standards (ACA etc.) as their British counterparts.

Transactional Finance | Permanent - London
Basic Salary (£ Per Annum)
Role 0-2 Years 3-4 Years 5+ Years
Accounts Assistant 18,000-25,000 22,000-30,000 28,000+
Credit Control 18,000-25,000 22,000-30,000 28,000+
Accounts Payable 18,000-25,000 22,000-30,000 28,000+
Accounts Receivable 18,000-25,000 22,000-30,000 28,000+
Ledger Manager * * 35,000+

*Typically, these roles do not exist at this level

Transactional Finance | Temporary - London
Rate (£ Per Hour)
Role 0-2 Years 3-4 Years 5+ Years
Accounts Assistant 11-13 15+ 15+
Credit Control 11-13 13+ 15+
Accounts Payable 11-12 13+ 15+
Accounts Receivable 11-12 13+ 20+
Ledger Manager * 15+ 20+

*Typically, these roles do not exist at this level

 
SME | Permanent - London
Basic Salary (£ Per Annum)
Role Part-Qualified Newly-Qualified 2-4 Years 5-7 Years 8+ Years
Financial Accountant 22,000-32,000 42,000-50,000 45,000-52,000 50,000-55,000 55,000+
Management Accountant 22,000-32,000 42,000-50,000 45,000-52,000 50,000-55,000 55,000+
FP&A Manager 22,000-32,000 42,000-50,000 50,000-60,000 60,000-69,000 65,000+
Finance Manager * 42,000-50,000 50,000-60,000 55,000-65,000 55,000+
Financial Controller * 42,000-50,000 50,000-65,000 60,000-80000 70,000+
Finance Director * * * * 80,000+

*Typically, these roles do not exist at this level

Large Corporate | Permanent - London
Basic Salary (£ Per Annum)
Role Part-Qualified Newly-Qualified 2-4 Years 5-7 Years 8+ Years
Financial Accountant 25,000-40,000 45,000-55,000 50,000-75,000 65,000-84,999 85,000+
Management Accountant 25,000-40,000 45,000-55,000 50,000-75,000 65,000-84,999 85,000+
FP&A Manager 25,000-40,000 45,000-55,000 50,000-75,000 65,000-84,999 85,000+
Finance Manager * 45,000-55,000 50,000-60,000 60,000-74,999 75,000+
Financial Controller * 45,000-55,000 50,000-75,000 65,000-84,999 85,000+
Finance Director * * * * 90,000+

*Typically, these roles do not exist at this level

Large Corporate | Temporary - London
Rates (£ Per Day)
Role Part-Qualified Newly-Qualified 2-4 Years 5-7 Years 8+ Years
Financial Accountant 150-200 250-260 300-450 300-500 300-500
Management Accountant 150-200 250-260 300-450 300-500 300-500
FP&A Manager 150-200 250-260 300-450 300-500 300-500
Finance Manager 180-200 250-275 300-500 300-500 350-450
Financial Controller * * 275-350 350-450 350-600+
Finance Director * * 350-450 400-600 450+

*Typically, these roles do not exist at this level

 

South West

Hiring focused on FMCG and retail

The economy is improving in the South West although it is probably 9-12 months behind London in terms of overall growth of activity. Recruitment has increased at transactional and recently qualified levels, where there exists a shortage of talent as a result of the practices taking on fewer trainees during the recession, but is still subdued for managerial roles upwards of £70k. The strongest demand is for commercial accountants who can partner with the business, with the retail and FMCG sectors particularly buoyant. 

The NHS is a major employer in the region but is taking on fewer contract accountants as a result of recent cost constraints and restrictions on the hiring of agency staff. This has resulted in greater availability of contract staff for commercial and industrial companies. Though there is steady hiring activity the market could not yet be described as buoyant and we are certainly not yet anywhere close to pre-recession levels. There is a preference for fixed term contracts rather than paying high day rates.

Commerce and Industry | Permanent - South West
Basic Salary (£ Per Annum)
Role Part-Qualified Newly-Qualified 2-4 Years 5-7 Years 8+ Years
Financial Accountant 28,000-35,000 32,000-40,000 38,000-55,000 45,000-60,000 55,000+
Management Accountant 28,000-35,000 32,000-40,000 38,000-55,000 45,000-60,000 55,000+
Internal Auditor 25,000-30,000 30,000-40,000 38,000-50,000 45,000-60,000 55,000+
Business/Finance Analyst 25,000-33,000 32,000-40,000 38,000-55,000 45,000-60,000 55,000+
FP&A * 32,000-40 38,000-55,000 45,000-60,000 55,000+
Financial Controller * * 40,000-60,000 50,000-70,000 60,000+
Finance Director * * * 60,000-80,000 80,000+

*Typically, these roles do not exist at this level

Commerce and Industry | Temporary - South West
Rate (£ Per Day)
Role Part-Qualified Newly-Qualified 2-4 Years 5-7 Years 8+ Years
Financial Accountant 150 180+ 250+ 350+ 400+
Management Accountant 150 180+ 250+ 350+ 400+
Internal Auditor 120+ 180+ 225+ 350+ 400+
Business/Finance Analyst 150 180+ 250+ 350+ 400+
FP&A * 180+ 250+ 350+ 400+
Financial Controller * * 350+ 400+ 450+
Finance Director * * * 450+ 550+

*Typically, these roles do not exist at this level

 

Home Counties

Recruitment refocused on talent and potential

The accounting and finance recruitment market has rebalanced to where it was before the crash, with qualified ACAs coming out of practice heavily in demand. During the recession, demand was focused on individuals who could pick up tasks quickly, which usually meant candidates already with commerce and industry experience, whereas now both large and mid-sized companies in the Home Counties are looking to hire candidates with future potential, with the ability to step into mid and senior level management roles. The emphasis has thus moved to recruitment based on talent and potential rather than very specific experience.

At a more senior level, although the situation has improved since 2014, there are still more candidates than there are jobs, with the situation especially difficult for group finance directors and divisional finance directors. It may take another year or two before the situation resembles that which existed before the recession. Prospects are better for mid-career accountants with a commercial or technical specialisation rather than general finance accountants and FP&A, as their functions are increasingly handled by management information teams supported by ERP and other technologies.

Some of the most important sectors in the Home Counties, notably energy and telecommunications, have gone through significant restructuring and mergers and acquisition activity, which negatively impacted recruitment. On the other hand, SMEs, particularly in FMCG followed by services and technology firms, recruited substantially more accountants in 2015. Those with a good brand reputation are highly attractive.

Companies based in the Home Counties have a huge challenge to attract the best candidates, who typically want to work in London. This may ease slightly not only because of the rising housing and living costs in London but also because a lot of regionally based companies are improving their employee value proposition, for example by moving their offices away from industrial estates to more desirable locations within reach of public transport such as town and village centres.

Salaries are increasing. In-house salaries are showing little or no movement even at junior level although companies are finding they have to increase their offers to incentivise a move.

Fall in demand of temporary staff

Hiring of contract and interim accounting and finance personnel was down year-on-year. During the recession, companies recruited contractors on a huge scale and many professionals chose contracting work as it was a relatively attractive option, or the only option. With demand now subdued, some candidates' day rates have fallen by as much as 15%, while salaries for permanent placements are stable or starting to move up. 

Nevertheless there are still some well-paid and interesting interim contract opportunities for candidates with a sought-after technical specialism such as IFRS, or for those with a strong commercial understanding.

We also saw an increase in the offshoring of finance teams, not only of transactional roles, but also of commercial, analytical and reporting roles. Thus far, this has had only a small overall market impact, but the long term risk is a dampened of demand for both contractors and permanent finance staff.
 

 
Transactional Finance | Permanent - Home Counties
Basic Salary (£ Per Annum)
Role 0-2 Years 3-4 Years 5+ Years
Graduate 22,000-25,000 * *
Accounts Assistant 20,000-25,000 25,000-30,000 30,000+
Credit Control/Accounts Receivable 22,000-25,000 25,000-30,000 30,000+
Accounts Payable 20,000-23,000 23,000-28,000 28,000+
Sales Ledger 20,000-22,000 22,000-24,000 24,000+
Ledger Manager * * 35,000+

*Typically, these roles do not exist at this level

Transactional Finance | Temporary - Home Counties
Rate (£ Per Hour)
Role 0-2 Years 3-4 Years 5+ Years
Accounts Assistant 10-12 12-15 15+
Credit Control 10-12 12-15 15+
Accounts Payable 10-12 12-15 15+
Accounts Receivable 10-12 12-20 20+
Ledger Manager * * 20+

*Typically, these roles do not exist at this level

SME | Permanent - Home Counties
Basic Salary (£ Per Annum)
Role QBE Newly-Qualified 2-4 Years 5-7 Years 8+ Years
Financial Accountant 30,000-40,000 40,000-50,000 50,000-55,000 50,000-55,000 55,000+
Management Accountant 25,000-35,000 40,000-48,000 48,000-52,000 52,000-55,000 55,000+
Analyst 25,000-35,000 42,000-48,000 48,000-52,000 52,000-65,000 65,000+
Commercial Finance * 42,000-52,000 50,000-60,000 60,000-65,000 65,000+
Finance Manager 35,000-45,000 45,000-50,000 50,000-60,000 60,000-65,000 65,000+
Financial Controller 40,000-50,000 * 50,000-60,000 65,000-70,000 70,000+
FInance Director 50,000 * * * 70,000+

*Typically, these roles do not exist at this level

 
Large Corporate | Permanent - Home Counties
Basic Salary (£ Per Annum)
Role Part-Qualified Finalist Newly-Qualified 2-4 Years 5-7 Years 8+ Years
Financial Accountant 25,000-40,000 45,000-55,000 50,000-60,000 60,000-75,000 75,000+
Management Accountant 25,000-38,000 45,000-50,000 50,000-60,000 60,000-70,000 70,000
Analyst 25,000-38,000 45,000-45,000 50,000-60,000 60,000-75,000 75,000+
Commercial Finance 28,000-40,000 45,000-50,000 50,000-65,000 65,000-75,000 75,000+
Finance Manager * 45,000-55,000 50,000-60,000 60,000-75,000 75,000
Financial Controller * * 60,000-70,000 70,000-80,000 80,000+
Finance Director * * * * 85,000+

*Typically, these roles do not exist at this level

Commerce and Industry | Temporary - Home Counties
Rate (£ Per Day)
Role Part-Qualified Newly-Qualified 2-4 Years 5-7 Years 8+ Years
Financial Accountant 150-225 250-350 350-400 400-500 500+
Management Accountant 150-250 250-300 300-350 350-450 450+
Analyst 150-250 250-300 350-400 400-500 500+
Commercial Finance * 300-350 350-400 400-500 500+
Finance Manager * 250-3200 300-350 350-375 375+
Financial Controller * * 300-400 400-450 450+
Finance Director * * * 400-500 500+

*Typically, these roles do not exist at this level

David Leithead's picture
Chief Operations Officer UK
dleithead@morganmckinley.co.uk