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- Specialism: Compliance
- Sector: Public Sector
- Office: Manchester
Type a day in the life of sellick from Bulqees Majid
When most graduates approach the end of their university degree, securing a job in the ‘real world’ can suddenly feel daunting. You are about to become a graduate and will need to make some career decisions which can feel overwhelming. Sometimes, it can be hard knowing where to begin and how to kick-start your career in the Finance & Accountancy sector. Not everyone will take the same route and you may be swayed to follow one direction over another due to your perception of what’s important to you. The positive news is that businesses across the UK are putting more emphasis on graduate recruitment to fill gaps in their teams. The big four (Ernst & Young, Deloitte, KPMG and PwC) have always traditionally offered graduate recruitment schemes, however we are starting to see a movement towards SMEs taking part in graduate recruitment. We have also seen a rise in the number of transactional finance roles for the day-to-day running of finance operations, so there are ample jobs at this level. What are Finance & Accountancy graduate schemes and graduate jobs? Graduate schemes are normally advertised by large established companies and have a fixed structure, which usually last from one to three years. In contrast, SMEs typically hire graduates in finance roles that you can apply for all year round so you don’t have to rush with your applications. Benefits of graduate schemes Training and development If you are looking to get varied experience with structured training then you may want to consider a graduate scheme. Some companies will offer opportunities to gain a professional qualification and will help contribute financially towards them. Graduate jobs do not normally have such a formal training programme in place, therefore you may find that you are not learning as much academically. Training will also be carried out in other areas of the business in a graduate scheme which means you will get to learn about other aspects of a business. This can be really beneficial in your first finance role to gain a deeper understanding of how a business is commercially ran. Increased wages Graduate schemes may offer a higher salary in comparison to graduate jobs, however they are very competitive and it could be easier to secure a graduate role. Highfliers have provided an annual review on graduate recruitment providing further insight into starting salaries for graduates. Disadvantages of graduate schemes Set application windows The common saying states fail to prepare, prepare to fail. If you are applying for a graduate scheme, there is a set application timeframe. You should start applying in your final year of university in order to start the following August or September. If you miss the application window, you cannot apply for another 12 months so make sure your CV is up-to-date. Long hours Graduate schemes are typically known for their long hours of work. Some companies may expect you to work longer hours to meet demands of the business. If you are a successful applicant for a graduate scheme, you need to make the most out of the opportunity by actively learning and taking in as much information as possible. Also, remember to keep a positive attitude and approach the challenges head on as you may impress the right person leading to other open doors. Benefits of graduate jobs Greater impact on a business Working within an SME business can be really rewarding as you can see the influence that your suggestions make to a business. Decisions may be made quicker due to a flatter structure, therefore there are not as many decision makers to get approval from. This means it’s easier to be recognised and rewarded for your hard work. Progression opportunities and less competition Graduate schemes can be oversubscribed and most of them expect you to meet certain grade requirements to be considered. Graduate roles can still be competitive, however there are more jobs advertised than graduate schemes and they may consider additional factors other than your grade. They may also have a career development structure in place, so if you are looking to stay within a company for a number of years to progress, this could be a better option for you. Disadvantages of graduate jobs Greater job instability Many companies that offer graduate schemes have recognised names which may give you a sense of security. You may have reservations about some lesser known SME companies. If this is the case, go to a website called Glassdoor where previous and current employees leave reviews on the business and provide a rating out of five stars. This way you can get an honest opinion into what it would be like to work for the company. Potentially less perks Graduate schemes have been renowned for offering nice perks including laptops, mobiles, IPads and many more. If you are working for an SME, you may not get as many benefits, however they may offer other types of benefits like flexi-time. So what route will you take? Both have advantages and drawbacks. On one hand, if you want to work for a well-known blue chip business that has a formal training programme in place, then a graduate scheme may be for you. Or if you want to get some hands on experience, climb the career ladder and put your stamp on the business, a graduate job may be better suited. Please visit our candidate resources page on our Sellick Partnership website, to get further advice to assist you with your job search including CV tips and interview preparation. Alternatively, download our CV template for Finance & Accountancy Graduate students.
Last Tuesday 6 November 2018, myself and my colleague Simon Briffa had the privilege of attending and exhibiting at a Women in Leadership event organised by CIPFA North East which took place at the Civic Centre in Newcastle. The event, which was set up by CIPFA North East president, Judith Savage was a celebration of women that are leading the way within business, and as an ambitious female myself I found the whole afternoon to be incredibly motivating. Each of the speakers had a story to tell, offering tangible advice to women hoping to progress in their careers, and also giving everyone an insight into what has helped them get to where they are today. Here are four of the speakers of the day, and why I think they hold important messages that every business woman in the UK should read. Jonathan Blair, UK Managing Partner of Womble Dickinson Jonathan Blair is responsible for the strategic direction of Womble Dickinson’s UK operation and is involved in setting the company’s international strategy. He opened the event and spoke about the importance of diversity and inclusion in business and why businesses should ensure they promote a culture of fairness, integrity and respect for all employees. The most important takeaway from this opening speech was his belief that female leaders are essential for business success and that female leadership should be the norm rather than the exception across all businesses and sectors. This is a great message to promote and something we should all be getting behind. Organisations should embrace their female workers and reap the rewards that a diverse and inclusive culture will bring. One thing that amazed me was the statistic that if more businesses adopted gender equality it would enrich the global economy by £120 trillion. After hearing this I couldn’t help but wonder what it is that is holding women back. Jonathan and the other speakers on the day believe it is combination of a number of things including, economic disadvantage, organisational culture, unconscious bias, self-limiting belief and lack of visible role models. These are all issues that we need to address to promote female leadership across the UK and beyond. Linda Conlon MBE, Chief Executive at Centre for Life Linda Conlon MBE, talked about subtle bias and how to negate negative stereotypes in business. She spoke about some real life examples of how women are often treated differently than their male counterparts because of bias and perception. For example, in business women are often called out for being ‘bossy’ when delegating tasks, whereas men are seen as being ‘assertive’ for doing the same thing. These negative perceptions are derived from the age old ‘old boys club’ that needs to be eradicated once and for all. To rid the business world of these negative perceptions, businesses need to support more women into leadership roles by creating more opportunities and making themselves more inclusive. For example, companies should be carefully wording job adverts and adapting their benefits packages to suit. Linda stated that using words like ‘competitive’ and ‘determined’ can often put women off, and adverts tend to get higher number of female applicants if they include words like ‘collaborative’ and ‘cooperative’. She also said we need to review salaries frequently, adopt flexible working practices and actively encourage women to be more visible in business in order to achieve true gender equality in our time. Kate Denby, Executive Director of Northern Stage ‘Learning to lead’ Kate Denby then took to the stage to talk about her experience of post performances at Northern Stage and how she would hear people talk about how amazing the actors were, marvelling at their talent. She explained how people often don’t think about what goes on back stage and how much work goes into the lead up to the performance. People often forget about all of the training, the practice, the mistakes and the development of skills that go into each and every performance – which she rightly compared to being a leader in business. Being a leader is about learning from your mistakes, working hard and paving the way for other people to be successful. Leadership is very different to management – a leader will influence others in a positive and productive way whilst energising and motivating others to success. Her advice, and something I related to, was not to think of leadership being above your station, no matter what level you are in an organisation. Too many women forget, or do not believe they will ever progress into a leadership role due to various circumstances, but this is not the case. Anyone that is driven enough and has the right skillset can become a leader, and more women need to be encouraged to take this step. What I found interesting from Kate’s speech was her discussion around men and women applying for roles. She stated that men are likely apply for a role even if they only tick 8 out of 10 of the main criteria, whereas a woman will generally only apply if she hits all 10. This made me think about my own senior candidate base, which is predominantly men, and it made me think about the women that would be perfect for many roles but may be too worried to apply. As women in business we need to be braver and apply for roles that may seem out of our reach, and by doing so more women may achieve the leadership positions that they deserve and have the skills to succeed in. Irene Lucas CBE, Ex Director General and Chief Executive of two local authorities Finally, Irene Lucas said that more women need to “stand out from the crowd and make their voices count”. She went on to discuss the importance of women being seen in business and ensuring their voices are heard at every level to maximise success. This is something I know I have adhered to throughout my career in recruitment. When starting out, and progressing in business it is important to be clear about what you stand for, to always ask for feedback and to value the contribution of everyone around you after all, ‘none of us are as clever as all of us’. Doing this, and having a strategy for success will greatly enhance your chances of achieving what you want to achieve. She also stated that it is important to do this whilst being true to yourself, closing the afternoon by saying that “the minute you try be someone else, you will likely strugglel”. All in all the event was a real celebration of inspiring female role models and it really showed me that there are women leading the way in business right up and down the country. However, it also highlighted the fact that there is still a way to go before we achieve true gender equality, and that is something all businesses should be putting at the top of their agenda for the years to come. If you would like more information about the Women in Leadership event, please feel free to email me directly on email@example.com. Alternatively you can check out what events we will be attending next here.
This Saturday 10 November 2018 is International Accounting Day, a date celebrating when Venetian mathematician Luca Bartolomeo de Pacioli published an in-depth look at bookkeeping practices. Today the accountancy sector is huge, and is an integral part of most businesses across the globe. However, despite the size of the sector we are still constantly on the lookout for high-calibre, qualified accountants to take key positions across the UK. In this blog I take a look at what I think are the top ten benefits of becoming an accountant and why people should really consider it as a legitimate career move. Excellent development and career prospects: you will get out what you put in while working in finance. If you are career driven, hardworking and focused the world really is your oyster. The training on offer and the opportunities to learn new skills and develop both personally and professionally in this sector are second to none and hard work always pays off. A better than average salary: accountants can work in high pressure environments, and the salary often reflects this. Accountants in the UK can earn anything from £25,000 as a gradate entering the profession to over £100,000 as an experience chartered accountant. There are also opportunities to earn upwards of £500 per day as an interim contractor, making it a very well paid profession for candidates that are willing to work hard. Job Security: businesses will always need accountants, so overall accounting is a very stable industry to work in, and while no field can guarantee anyone a job, the prospects in accounting are excellent and are likely to stay that way. Variety of the role: as an accountant you will be able to work in almost any industry, so the variety and choice within the role is excellent. You will also work with a range of people across the business you are in, giving the role variety and making each day different and interesting. Variety of roles available: as an accountant you will also enjoy access to a vast number of different roles on a permanent, contract and interim basis. This gives candidates in the Finance & Accountancy sector a much greater chance of securing work, and if you are flexible with what you want you will likely be able to secure a role you want with relative ease. Role that you could get into include audit, reporting, business partnering and commercial an analysis. Ability to make real change: Today’s finance professionals do much more than just crunch numbers. Accountants are often required to have technical abilities coupled with a commercial acumen that enables them to advise decision makers on strategy and business processes. This makes the role of an accountant incredibly varied, challenging and often very exciting. Technology and the ever changing environment: technology is changing the way finance leaders run their teams and how they conduct business. As a result, more finance leaders are investing in digitisation of the finance function, opening up opportunities to gain efficiencies and analyse trends. This again means varied career paths as professionals who are tech-savvy have an opportunity to excel, and trained accountants will be at the forefront of exciting business change. You will gain transferable skills: the skills you will learn and develop as an accountant are easily transferable to other roles and even sectors. For example, accountants could go into teaching, trading or recruiting, so if you ever want a change of scenery you will have plenty of other options to choose from. Many accountants also become business leaders in their own right, securing Managing Director roles and setting up their own businesses. You have the option to travel: with qualifications like CIMA, ACA and ACCA, you can work in more than 120 countries. Giving you the ability to travel with work and pleasure. This is especially advantageous as you might end up working with a big firm with multiple offices in different countries. No need for a university education: you don’t need a degree to become an accountant. Having an accountancy degree can enable you to skip a few exams on the way to full qualification, but generally it will not matter whether or not you have been to university. I believe becoming an accountant is a clever career move for anyone that is ambitious and focussed. I have seen so many candidates progress through the ranks relatively quickly within finance. It is a sector that is constantly growing, and I firmly believe that the role of an accountant will always be needed. For more information on how you could get on the accountancy career ladder get in touch with me by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, you can check out our latest accountancy roles here.