Queens Court, 24 Queen Street, Manchester, M2 5HX
- Specialism: Finance & Accountancy
- Sector: Commerce & Industry
- Roles: Interim, temporary, contract and permanent
- Location: North West
Type a day in the life of sellick from Sam Jeffrey
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on employment as a whole, however as restrictions begin to ease in the UK, we are seeing things return back to some form of normality. There have been some huge changes within most industries and whilst some will be temporary, there are others which will likely be more permanent. In this blog I will look at what has changed and the most positive aspects that have come out of the COVID-19 pandemic. Flexible working arrangements As remote working has worked well for the majority, the new norm for many after the pandemic could be a working week split between the workplace and home. Whilst this can save time and money on commute times, there have also been parallels with improved employee health and wellbeing. More and more businesses are now considering offering employees a choice, so those who do want to return to the office are able to and equally those who prefer a more flexible approach to work benefit too. At Sellick Partnership we have recently been given a similar choice in the sense that we will have three days a week in the office, with the rest being a choice of working from home or the office. From an employee’s perspective, a working week split between the office and home presents invaluable benefits. With the option of working from home resulting in additional time saved from not having to commute, the opportunity to spend more time with children before work and as soon as work finishes is an unrivalled perk. Remote working also presents other fantastic benefits allowing more time during the week to dedicate to things that historically may have had to wait until the weekend. Employers can experience higher staff morale which in turn has a positive impact on quality of work and productivity. Although it is the opinion of some and not all, some employees feel working from home allows greater autonomy, with a quieter environment that can facilitate more focused work. Interviews and onboarding virtually In the same way that flexible working arrangements for employees will become more frequent, a hiring and onboarding process consisting of both virtual and face-to-face processes will most likely become more common due to being both time and cost effective. For many candidates, interviewing within business hours can be difficult and can often result in having to request annual leave to attend. However, with virtual interviews becoming more popular, candidates are now able to interview during their lunch breaks and after work, ultimately speeding up the hiring process. For employers, a big positive with virtual interviewing is consistency. Interviewing virtually enables an employer to record the conversation at the candidate's consent. This ensures nothing is lost in the interview and can be an effective tool when comparing interviews and providing critique. Virtual interviews also offer a great deal of convenience with regards to both cost and time effectiveness, particularly in terms of access to geographically remote candidates. More meaningful working relationships Greater communication and collaboration has been a product of the physical distance imposed on working relationships. With social distancing likely to bring colleagues closer together, employees who have been working from home over the past 12 months will notice the importance of working together, team work and communication. Having more meaningful relationships in work not only helps boost confidence to employees but it has also shown to help reduce stress and increase work satisfaction, productivity and loyalty towards the business. Employees may feel more connected to a company if they develop close working relationships and the friendly relationships between colleagues may further decrease the likelihood of individuals searching elsewhere for employment. Employees have the opportunity to work within a positive team in a suitable environment, whereas employers retain staff who have more experience to help with the company’s growth. For further information or to assist you in your job search, check out our wide-ranging resources for candidates. You can also speak to a member of our Finance & Accountancy recruitment team by calling Maz Williams directly on 0191 261 8585.
Are you interested in finding out what skills are in demand across the Finance & Accountancy sector? Senior Consultant Liam Cox spoke to one of his clients who told him what skills finance candidates should be concentrating on, and offered his insight into what hiring managers might be looking for in the future. It can be hard to build a successful career within any sector, not least a sector that is becoming increasingly caudate-led. As a result, candidates looking to secure a job within Finance & Accountancy need to set themselves apart. A good way of doing this is by ensuring they develop and showcase the key skills many hiring managers look for across the sector. Finance professionals that continually build on their skills and react to the market are always the most sought after, and generally do very well throughout their career. But what skills doe hiring managers within the sector look for? Senior Consultant Liam Cox spoke to one of his key clients to find out the skills he is looking for, how candidates can showcase their experience during the application process and also what skills he thinks will become increasingly important in the future. What are the key skills you usually look for in candidates joining your team? There are a number of things we would normally look for, especially in junior candidates joining our team. One of which is confidence and how they come across. This is becoming increasingly important because of the direction that the sector is taking. The Finance & Accountancy sector is moving towards more of a “business partnering”, so we look for candidates that have a higher commercial acumen that we did previously. Candidates that have excellent communication skills, and that are able to relay financial data to stakeholders at varying levels is also highly important. We also want to try and test their team fit; how they will operate in a close knit environment and if they’re willing to help others. This is especially important to us as we have a small team and everyone we employ needs to get stuck in and help where possible. We tend to do this by asking scenario questions throughout the interview process. Experience is also a bonus. It isn’t always essential depending on the role but we can teach them what they need if they demonstrate they’re flexible and willing to learn from us. How have the skills of Finance & Accountancy candidates developed in recent years? The main difference tends to be that candidates nowadays lack “qualification skills”. We tend to find that candidates have a broader, more varied skillset rather than specific knowledge that you would likely gain through qualifications. This can swing both ways, it can be a bonus for a role that is likely going to have a lot of variety as they will have generally already had some good exposure. However, the higher up the ladder you go can have a detrimental impact as senior candidates generally need to be qualified and have some specific, niche training and experience. Having said that, I do think that the personality of some new accountants has definitely developed over the years, which is great to see. I think there is a much greater focus on soft skills now than there was when I first started my career, which will stand people in good stead moving forward. What skills is your team/the industry lacking the most? I don’t think my team is lacking a huge amount of skills, as I tend to ensure I hire junior candidates that I can develop and ensure they learn the skills we need them to have. We assess their capabilities of picking things up quickly and how open they are to learning from the interview stage and generally try and hire candidates on that basis. In terms of the sector as a whole, the biggest shortfall is the lack of qualified accountants on the market. My peers across the industry often talk to me about the struggle they have finding qualified candidates that are the full package, and have the right mix of technical ability and soft skills that they need. When looking at a CV to shortlist a candidate, what are the main things you look for? I generally look at a CV and score each section out of four in-line with the person specification and job description. This gives me a really good understanding of if the person is right for us, and usually helps me come up with a strong shortlist of suitable candidates. In terms of specifics, experience is the main thing I tend to look for, but the level of experience varies depending on the role. I then look for someone that I feel has the right personality and will be the right cultural fit for our business. To decide this I usually look to see if they have added any extra-curricular activities to their CV as this can give you a different perspective and can make one candidate stand out over another. I also appreciate that some younger candidates may not have achieved as much at work, so it can be nice to see candidates mention why they are looking to move on and what they are looking for in a new role. Generally it tends to be for progression, but it’s good to see. Are you looking for some support on writing your CV? Check out our CV guide and downloadable CV template here. What would you ask a candidate at interview to find out if they have the relevant skills/experience for your business? We would try to see if they’d done any research on both us as an organisation and the sector before the interview. With the financial pressures within the Public Sector at the moment, we need to know that a candidate is sure this is the right move for them and that they show a willingness to join us. Also, if we’re going to be investing in their long-term future, we need to know they’ve made an effort to show us they want the role. The kind of questions we would ask to find this out are: What do you know about us as an organisation? What kind of pressures do you feel the sector is facing at the minute? Who would our clients or customers be apart from the obvious? We would also ask specific personality and scenario questions related to the skillset of the role. As I’ve said, team fit is a big part of what we try to operate so we would definitely be asking about how they would see themselves working in a team environment when the pressure is on. Still not feeling prepared for your next interview? Why not head over to our Candidate Resources page for interview advice and common interview questions to prepare. What do you think the future holds in terms of skillsets and candidates joining the market? I think we will continue to see a drop in the number fully qualified candidates on the market, which is why we are trying to put more emphasis on training people who show an interest in becoming qualified. The training and programmes we provide are really beneficial for all parties. Hiring finance professionals in this way also means that we get qualified accountants that know how we work. Candidates are also going to want to work for businesses that will invest in their future, something that has become synonymous with the sector. So although I think the number of qualified candidates may drop, I think the number of candidates that will want to pursue a career in the sector will continue to increase. Employers will therefore need to be able to show candidates what they can do to invest in their future in order to continue attracting the best talent on the market. Do you think you have the skills required to pursue a job opportunity within Finance & Accountancy? If so we would love to hear from you. Get in touch with our team today, or check out our latest live vacancies here. Alternately, you can find more advice, blogs and resources specifically written for Finance & Accountancy professionals on the insights section of our website.
Roles in fintech are growing, and recently we have seen a massive increase in the number of Finance & Accountancy professionals utilising their skills and entering this growing sector. In this article, Nicholas Harding, CEO of peer-to-peer lending platform Lending Works, offers his advice for people with financial backgrounds who may want to transition over to fintech or secure a role in this growing sector. The fintech industry in the UK is booming, generating an estimated annual turnover of £20 billion (IG) and creating many new, exciting jobs. So, it is no surprise that so many people aspire to work in fintech, whether they are soon-to-be graduates or have been working in other areas for a long time. In this new industry, you will need a range of hard and soft skills, which you may have already acquired if you started your career in finance. Below, I will take you through just a few of the skills that makes people with financial backgrounds so desirable in this industry. Financial knowledge You do not necessarily have to be an expert in technology to do well in fintech. What you may find, is that employers are more interested in your financial knowledge, because you can provide insight into areas that could be improved by technology. You can also advise them of regulations and other limitations they will need to be aware of. You will likely have experience using finance-specific tools and technology to complete your daily tasks, whether that is Excel or a custom-built accounting software. Having a comprehensive understanding of these tools can give you a competitive advantage over other candidates, especially if you can come up with ideas for how they can be improved or used for other purposes. Hard skills Hard skills are the talent and expertise you acquire through training or experience that allow you to perform well in a certain job. They are usually easy to prove by earning certificates, such as degrees or diplomas as evidence of a formal education. But hard skills also include things like additional languages and computer literacy. One of the key hard skills finance workers pick up in the industry is data analysis. Fintech roles are usually very figure-driven, so having a strong data analysis aptitude will allow you to better use numbers to make business decisions. Financial reporting and forecasting are also important traits to have — plus, as there has been a shortage of candidates with this skill in recent years (Jobsite), it will make you more desirable. Your role in finance should provide you with plenty of opportunities to practice developing the right hard skills, but you could consider looking into online courses or asking your employer to recommend some to hone your knowledge. Some can take a few years to complete, such as accountancy qualifications, but they will provide you with concrete evidence of your capability. Soft skills Do not forget that the ideal candidate also needs to have excellent soft skills, which are things like communication, networking, creative thinking, and time management — these are equally important in any role. Make sure you jump at every opportunity to exercise these whilst you are working in finance by volunteering to attend industry events and getting involved in optional projects. It can also help to perform regular skills gap analysis. These are usually done employer-to-employee, but you can conduct one yourself to identify which areas you need to work on. For example, if you have had less experience putting together professional graphs or struggle to produce cleanly formatted charts, you can focus on developing your design skills. Frequently undergoing skills gap analysis and topping up your experience can help you become a more well-rounded and versatile employee. When you decide to move on to fintech, it is also important to highlight any project management experience you may have picked up that can give you even more of an edge compared to other candidates, as these leadership skills are just as important as they are in other industries. These are just some of the ways a career in finance can prepare you for a new role in fintech. From useful hard skills to crucial soft skills, there are plenty of transferable talents for you to acquire by working in the financial industry. Can we help? If you are looking for your next vacancy, or are interested in joining a leading fintech firm, please get in touch, we would be more than happy to help.