Recruitment of Accounting & Finance professionals into Commerce & Industry organisations, both on a permanent and temporary basis, has been positive so far this year.
The year started incredibly strongly for technical accounting, and whilst these were still popular in the second quarter - making up 22% of mandates across our permanent and temporary teams - the most popular roles have been commercially focused positions, making up 35%. There was an increase in systems accounting roles, particularly around the implementation of Dynamics 365. Many hiring organisations are looking to move away from the larger ERPs and implement Dynamics to improve the efficiency of reporting within the business.
Whilst there are no significant regulatory changes to speak about, Brexit, alongside other political and economic change, has definitely played a role in the world of commerce and caused some challenges. For example we are seeing more interim hires across retail due to hardships on the highstreet, but telecommunications, consulting and property firms seem to be the driving force around permanent hiring. With the market picking up despite the uncertainty, there was a high demand for candidates looking for a reporting role, with salaries ranging from £50,000 - £60,000. This continued to remain a challenge for businesses with Big 4 candidates seeking more commercial roles, as well as having multiple offers to decide between.
Businesses continued to hire Finance Analysts and Finance Business Partners, where there have been more candidates, but once again applicants were in the driving seat with multiple options to choose between. Roles at a senior level were few and far between - some processes continued for a number of months due to specific client requirements based around their business needs and challenges.
There is a widespread expectation from professionals that any vacancy should offer flexible working and other fringe benefits should also be available to compensate for roles where salaries cannot be raised. An increasing number of organisations are addressing mental health in the workplace and placing focus on Pride week in an attempt to improve their culture and ultimately attract employees to join.
With candidates having so many applications on the go, companies need to offer an enticing culture, provide different ways of working for their staff and be competitive with their salaries if they want to hire top talent.
As per usual, ACA qualified candidates have been in high demand across both permanent and temporary markets - professionals who have completed the ACA have found it easy to secure new roles. Further to this, candidates with commercial finance experience with a desire to help make strategic decisions or technical accounting skills, including IFRS standards, are always sought after. Candidates are no longer expected just to “crunch numbers” but to articulate financial impacts to a business and be fully involved; this means strong communication skills are a must.
Organisations have also been striving to reduce their gender pay gap, looking for strong female candidates to fill leadership roles.
If you are waiting to hear back about any feedback, do follow up with your recruitment consultant but often it can be hard to get feedback due to the sheer volume of applicants, so don’t be too disheartened by a no without context. This said, processes take longer over summer so if you haven’t heard for a week or so, it doesn’t mean you haven’t succeeded. It is a common misconception that there are no interim roles available over the summer months. Many organisations are looking to hire in preparation for budget season. The reason it can feel slow is processes are delayed by multiple stakeholders being on annual leave.
Paper sifts are getting more strict on accountancy qualifications, so those candidates who have previously secured qualified level roles without being qualified are now finding that they are not always getting through initial review from recruitment or HR teams.