Accountancy Hiring Trends

– Newly Qualified Accountants

Written By Keith Philips

Throughout the year, the Industry team at Paragon Executive has seen an increasing demand for Newly Qualified Big 4 Accountants across all industries. Approaching the mid-way point in Q4 has not changed this focus, with many organisations from SME’s to Global plc’s now actively hiring within this demographic, for pipelining purposes or business need. Due to large number of qualified accountants looking to leave practice and make a move to industry, the increase in quality of training and exposure has allowed these organisations to control costs of hires to an industry average.

Industry Focused:

While many may think this is quite an obvious move, we have noticed the shift in motivations in candidates at the Newly Qualified level from the standard Work/Life balance focus more towards something they feel is tangible. In 2015, the Software or technology industry was one of the most attractive for candidates. This still remains true, to a certain extent, however, since the beginning of Q3 we have gathered information from ‘active’ candidates which has pointed in the direction of a tangible product. Fundamentally candidates are seeing the worth in securing a role in an organization which has a physical product on the market. One of the main reasons identified for this is with regard to being a part of something, a trait attributed to the ‘millennial’ generation. This, in turn, brings an increase in interest for roles within sectors such as; Pharma, FMCG, Retail, Manufacturing, Construction or Energy/Renewables.

Practice Focused:

If we are to compare the candidate’s Paragon represented in Q3/Q4 of 2015 compared to Q3/Q4 of 2016, we have seen more candidates reaching out for information and guidance on the market with an aim of staying on post training contract. Firms are now becoming as competitive as industry with regards to salaries, development and flexibility on scope of responsibilities. Travel is also a major factor for finance professionals. A number of Big 4 firms are willing to support candidates wishing to travel with the aim of them rejoining their firm upon return and often assist with the overheads involved. The lack of scope with regards to progression is something which candidates are very aware of currently leading them to considering staying within practice for a period of 12-24 months in order to look at Industry opportunities at a more senior level.

Average Salaries:

Data taken from candidates represented by Paragon Executive won’t produce many major surprises for hiring managers and HR professionals regarding Salaries. Finishing contracts on circa 45k, the standard expectations for Newly Qualified Candidates across the Dublin region in particular, is 50k-55k (excluding benefits). This is further backed up by a recent study published by the Leinster society of Chartered Accountants.

Demand for Skillsets:

This topic is more reflective of a particular employer, however, with the emphasis on quality of work being at the forefront of the external Advisory firms, we have noticed the technical ability of qualified auditors becoming broader. With regards to the positions we have assisted with, the emphasis has shifted towards Reporting experience, in particular under IFRS/Local GAAP and FRS 102, coupled with commercial acumen. Candidates who display the potential to operate in a commercial role and ability to act as a business partner are more in demand with large organisations (MNC’s).

Scope of Responsibilities/Competitiveness:

One of the major touch points within the Talent Acquisition sphere throughout the year has been securing talent. As the job market increases to grow from strength to strength, Active finance candidates typically have an average of 2 offers to consider when making a move to Industry. We have found that there has been a decline in remuneration being a major factor in the decision making but more so towards the scope of responsibilities on offer within the position. A role which allows a recently qualified accountant to see more of the operational side of the business whilst also sitting in a Statutory Accounting position enables employers to secure top talent, giving them experience they may not necessarily receive in a typical General Ledger/Stat role. Another factor contributing to successfully onboarding a new finance hire can be contributed to the Brand image of an organization. With Social media being a part of regular day life, companies are taking the initiative to promote their brand online with regular marketing and advertising campaigns in order to increase awareness of their services, work life, progression opportunities and also to have the name in the forefront of candidates’ minds when considering a new employer.

 For more information on the above, please contact the Paragon Executive Industry team on 01 874 6770

Keith Phillips

Robin Craig