Over the past month, we have brought three different articles highlighting the growing demand for technically strong accountants (click here), perspectives from candidates who have specialised in these roles after their careers in practice (click here) and some perspectives from finance leaders in the private sector (click here).
This article will look at some of the views from some of the leading figures in the Audit & Advisory sector;
• In March 2021, the government (BEIS) published their consultation on reforms aimed at “Restoring trust in audit and corporate governance”. The reforms affect the auditors and companies – especially plcs and PIEs (public interest entities). This is potentially heading towards an implementation of UK SOx from 2023.
• UK SOx will make all directors accountable for reporting responsibilities with a lengthy list of new controls
• Extra responsibilities around ESG reporting
• Considerable levels of financial restructuring that are responding to observations from the pandemic and in anticipation of new regulations.
We spoke with two partners within large professional services firms to explain the potential changes for businesses if / when SOx is confirmed;
The FRC can currently only take enforcement action against members of professional bodies (usually the auditors), the consultation proposes that company directors will be in scope for action from the FRC
If the UK adopts their own version of US Sarbanes-Oxley rules over financial reporting and controls, there could be a major material impact on companies. US SOx significantly increased the workloads of directors and finance teams.
Although these regulations are not currently in existence, we are preparing for them and are advising our clients to do the same thing.
Shaun Mullins is an Audit & Advisory Partner at Mazars in Leeds
We are unsurprised to hear of the significant demand for technically strong accountants in private sector companies at the moment. Our business consulting team are working with an increased number of clients to upskill existing staff and redesign organisational structures to provide more solid and timely financial support.
Automation of processes continues to accelerate at pace. Smart companies are investing now to support their teams and ensure that they are future-proofed for the increasing regulations.
Covid-19 has put a major strain on a lot of businesses. Finance departments are not immune and the stretch has exposed weaknesses in controls and ability against a backdrop of more regulations and scrutiny.
Automation, upskilling teams and recruiting where there are skills gaps represent the blend of solutions we are seeing.
Emma Davies is Partner for Financial Accounting Advisory Services at Grant Thornton in Sheffield
There is huge demand on the services of our team that are the same factors that are accounting for the recruitment drive for strong technical accountants in the private sector.
M&A transactions have risen significantly with the expected future change to Entrepreneurs’ Relief. Businesses that are in “acquisitive” or “becoming a target” mode have increased expectations to ensure that their financial reporting and controls are robust.
The pandemic has led to some clients having back-to-back audits, where remote working has posed too much of a challenge in 2020. Our team have been called in to support more contentious issues and just to relieve the pressure on finance departments that are stretched.
There has been a clear catalyst to automation over the past year – objectives being to ensure that businesses can meet the future demands of change that they are likely to experience.
UK SOx and ESG are increasingly creating more workload. The expected reporting aspects around ESG will challenge finance teams in the future , who will need a different skillset. Planning for this and implementing processes to capture the right information early will provide significant comfort to many businesses.
. Our firm and the finance teams of our clients are heavily investing in skilled accountants to ensure that current workloads and increasing demands can be met, and to do this they need to ensure they are attracting the best people, providing opportunities for development upskilling them. Employers in the private sector will not just need to review their teams and process, but also their employer value propositions and recruitment strategies to ensure they can meet the demands of the future.
Our last post will be published on Tuesday 3rd August and will provide a summary of our four articles and our opinion and advice to all employers on how to address the technical accounting skills gap
In our third and final article, Paul Davies provides advice to any business considering a public listing in 2022
Sarah is one of our region’s leading female CFOs. She is passionate about what she does and is an exceptional finance professional. We were delighted when she agreed to share her journey to such a successful career.
Gareth Hague has led two listings over the past four years. Today, he shares with you his informed views on IPOs from a CFO’s perspective in Yorkshire.
London Main Market and AIM listings rose significantly in 2021 across the UK. Yorkshire was a strong part of this trend and we continue to speak to SMEs who are considering or actively planning for IPOs as their preferred exit route.
The landscape, experiences from those involved and some expert advice and considerations