Accounting and Finance Contract Recruitment: A Q2 2016 Overview

Natalie Limerick 01.07.2016

The trends across contract hiring for Finance & Accounting from Quarter 1 into Quarter 2 have remained particularly stagnant, versus the normal change we have seen in previous years across the 6 month period.

Ordinarily we find there is more appetite for employees to move once bonuses have been paid (or not paid in some cases!) and new budgets are set which allows for more exciting and challenging roles to make their way on to the market. 

Offshoring continues to be a major drive in the Financial Services sector, with even more organisations including SME Banks and Asset Managers involved in offshoring their finance functions this year, not just the Tier 1 Banks where this was most popular over the last 2 years.  We are also seeing more banks implementing Furlough/enforced leave over the summer season, something we normally only see around the Christmas period, which demonstrates the ever increasing need for further cost saving initiatives. We are still finding that the general pattern is to recruit contractors to support the “Business As Usual” function

Hiring has been more prevalent in Quarter 2 on the technical controls/regulatory side e.g. Liquidity Reporting, Treasury Control, SOX control, Bank Of England/PRA reporting.  This is mainly due to the type of projects/programmes currently being initiated and the emphasis on regulations and reporting as a result of the impact “Brexit” is having on the economy.  The other major change areas across finance are focused on Product Control, IFRS 9 implementation, Basel3/CRD4 regulatory projects, and MiFID to name a few, and have welcomed an increase in hiring for contractors with the relevant skill set. Due to the nature of these projects and the urgency to meet deadlines, the banks have had no choice but to hire.  However approval processes are much stricter than ever before, hence we are challenged with slow turnaround - generally an uncommon occurrence when hiring contractors.

We are still finding that the general pattern is to recruit contractors to support the “Business As Usual” function, allowing permanent employees to take on a more specialist/SME involvement in the various projects.  Typical roles in finance this quarter have tended to be Financial Controllers, Financial Reporting and Regulatory Reporting Controllers with an increasing need for junior BA and PMO’s to support Programmes, with a handful of MI or Project Accounting roles.  

Candidate flow is good due to many candidates coming to the end of their contracts or being faced with redundancy.  However this does mean it is a very candidate driven market and competition is at an all time high.  Hiring Managers are spoilt for choice which leads to more interviews for roles and in a lot of cases a longer recruitment process overall. The outcome of the EU referendum has certainly caused a stir in the UK 

We cannot discuss the market without mentioning the topic on everyone’s lips – “Brexit”!!  The outcome of the EU referendum has certainly caused a stir in the UK, and even more so the Financial Services sector.  Brexit continues to cause uncertainty and a lot of the banks are using this as a reason for their lack of hiring (or perhaps the perfect excuse to allow for further and more drastic cost cutting, which a lot of the banks are still being encouraged to enforce!).  At this stage I don’t think anyone can predict what the EU referendum result is going to bring for our economy going forward, and it is likely hiring will be quiet over the summer months which is notoriously a quiet time of year anyway.

We are optimistic however that whatever happens it can only be good for the contract market overall, as there will be a need for contractors to support whatever restructuring plans and natural attrition this volatility/change may bring.  It is definitely not all “doom and gloom” and we have been pleasantly surprised to hear from some of our contacts currently working within Tier 1 banks, where the message and sentiment from senior management has been one of positivity and togetherness. So, instead of wallowing and panicking, let’s use this opportunity to tighten up regulations and controls to a UK standard, and grow stronger as a result!

If you have any questions, please do feel free to contact the team. Even if we don’t foresee huge volumes within the immediate future, why not get ahead of the game? Or the hopeful surge in Q3/Q4 of 2016.

Here’s to a great second half of the year!

Natalie Limerick's picture


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