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Finance & Accountancy Market Trends 2016/17


by Sellick Partnership | 11 July 2016

There can be no doubt that the finance and accountancy market across the UK is growing. The type of finance candidates recruited has changed slightly, but it is fair to say that businesses are starting to utilise their finance department to make commercial decisions and increase revenues. The days of the perceived ‘bean counter’ finance professional have disappeared; hopefully for good.

A growing trend that has almost become the norm when recruiting into commerce and industry businesses, is a client’s reticence to hire an individual with little or no relevant sector experience. Organisations and, indeed line managers, are now wary of taking risks on candidates who have little or no sector relevant experience. Post-recession businesses are far more cautious and unwilling to take risks during the hiring process.

Further trends that we are currently witnessing include:

An increase in project based roles
Post-recession many businesses have had the confidence to invest in their internal processes and controls. As a consequence of this we’ve seen an abundance of project based pieces of work arising over the last 24 months. Typical projects roles that we have recruited into include:

  • System integration / upgrades / migrations
  • Business transformation programmes
  • M&A based project / programmes
  • Data based analytical projects

Far greater emphasis on analytical positions
The market has also seen a huge increase in the recruitment of specific data and business analysts. Organisations recognise that data is critical to the commercial success of the business and have invested heavily in these types of candidates to give them the winning edge over the competition.

A strong BA will provide critical MI that can be used at exec level to alter the direction and approach of the business. These individuals are also skilled in the production of financial models and extracting data. This not only assists the business from a risk perspective but also in terms of directing the business through a period of time.

The rise of the Commercial Business Partner
Over the past two years the Commercial Business Partner role has been one of the most recruited to qualified positions. It would seem that all businesses are looking to hire commercial candidates who increase revenues and can make tangible savings across the organisation. Coupled with this businesses are seeking an accountant who can communicate equally effectively with their finance counterparts as well as non-finance employees within the business. Post-recession businesses have realised the positive impact that commercial accountants can have. As a consequence of this the recruitment of business partners is only going to rise.

Demand for technically strong ACA/ACCA candidates
Countrywide there appears to be a consistent demand for technically strong reporting based candidates who are either ACA or ACCA qualified. The problem across the entire market is that there’s an extreme lack of these candidates. The lack of these individuals affects both international based PLC’s with huge recruitment budgets as well as SME’s with a small finance department. Businesses are having to become increasing flexible when looking for this type of candidate as if they’re too specific and narrow in their key candidate requirements they will be looking for a significant period of time.

In essence the finance market particularly within the commerce and industry sector is constantly evolving. External factors such as the decision to leave the European Union and uncertainty in the market has a direct impact upon a business and consequently their strategy around staffing. These challenges are something that we need to battle and stay on top of and the only way of doing this is to build long lasting relationships with both our candidates and clients.

For further information about the finance and accountancy market with insights into trends, bonuses and benefits as well as salary tables, download our 2016/17 Salary Guide and Market Insight Report.