Financial Accounting Skills Gap - Our Conclusion & Opinion

Our final article on the financial accounting skills gap provides a summary of our recent articles from the last month and gives our conclusion and opinion on recruiting effectively for technical accounting skills in the current market.

Aug 4, 2021
CFO News Article

We have never seen the demand for technically strong accountants as high as it is currently. We have been working on an increasing number of opportunities, have seen the size of shortlists reduce, salaries rise and spoken to a growing number of finance departments that are really stressed.

Over the past three weeks, we have shared posts that have showed the perspectives of candidates, finance leaders in industry and finance leaders in advisory. We have summarised each of these four articles below.

We have also produced a summary guide for employers looking at recruiting for technical accounting skills and how to achieve the best possible result in the current market. Please email Nik Pratap to request a copy.

CANDIDATE POOL

·       Over twice as many newly qualified accountants are looking for commercial finance and Finance Business Partner roles than technical accounting opportunities

·       SMEs are appealing to a greater proportion of candidates now than larger corporates. Opportunities within SMEs will often be broader and have a balance of accounting skills. The challenge for all employers is to define and promote the strength of their proposition even more strongly than they have done before.

CANDIDATE PERSPECTIVES

Candidates who move from practice into technical roles have built a great platform to take themselves to the highest level of FD / CFO roles ultimately;

·       Consolidating and improving the technical strength they have built in their training contracts

·       Understand that they are adding real value to the balance sheet and shareholder value in the company.

PRIVATE SECTOR PERSPECTIVES

·       Audits are so much more demanding than they have been in the past. There are more requirements and more expectations from the auditors.

·       ESG reporting is adding to the demands of the finance department.

·       UK SOx on the horizon in the next two years that will have the same major impact on pressure that the introduction of US SOx had two decades ago.

·       Challenges in recruiting candidates of the traditional brief (ACA qualified with 0-2 years PQE) – looking at different backgrounds and interims instead.

PRACTICE PERSPECTIVES

In addition to all of the points listed in the private sector perspectives above, our contacts in public practice have highlighted the following factors;

·       Fast pace of automation growth in finance departments – redefining roles.

·       M&A activity is busy.

·       Post-pandemic restructuring

 

The high volume of technical accounting vacancies across our region is only going to grow, given all of the research we have presented. The vast majority of these vacancies are essential hires and smart employers are doing the following;

·       Ensuring that their finance departments are strong and future-proofed for the demands of the next three years

·       Benchmarking their salaries and their propositions against the market. It is not just about money, but those who are paying the same rates as a few years ago will increase their risk of not recruiting. Read our Salary Survey to get the latest information

·       Opening their minds to alternative solutions – interims, learning & development plans and restructuring departments.

 

We have pooled together all of our experience of how to recruit effectively for technical accounting skills in the current market. For a copy of our guide, please contact Nik Pratap

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