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Finance recruitment trends in 2016

By Redline Group

2015 was a good year for finance and accountancy professionals. Business growth drove demand for finance jobs in the technology sector, with organisations hiring financial and business analysts to help them identify business growth opportunities. According to the REC’s Recruitment Industry trends 81,700 accounting and finance candidates were placed in finance jobs across the UK in 2015 totalling 12.9% of the UK’s recruitment industry. The accounting/financial average daily placements (contract & temp roles) were up by 19,800 (48.8%), when compared with 2013/14, and 24,200 (66.1%) higher than 2007/08.


The start of 2016 saw many factors affecting recruitment in the finance sector in the UK with a demand for candidates who possess up-to-date software skills as well as the techniques to drive these new tools and software technologies, many of which are now SaaS based.


Rachael Palmer, finance division manager at Redline Group, says, “Over the last six to twelve months there has been greater focus on finance candidates with commercial and analytical skills within the accountancy and finance field. Within the Finance team at Redline, we observed that towards the latter part of 2015, our Clients’ finance and accounting job requisitions and specifications started to change and required a mix of pure technical skills and analytical competencies. This is due to the increase in accountancy software available for finance departments combined with the integration of cloud computing. Overall throughout 2015, the need developed for commercially focused individuals with the ability to review financial information and have the technical ability to interrogate such data with the use of new software tools often SaaS biased.”


Effectively in 2016 this trend has continued as more clients and technology businesses place extra emphasis on understanding their marketplace and identifying what their strategy is for future growth. It is important for both job seekers and current employees to know what they are worth and which hiring trends are affecting the financial recruitment sector.


Demand for tech skills


Finding skilled professionals in today’s recruitment market is a challenge mainly due to a shortage of technical experts in the Finance sector. The traditional finance skills have changed and moved away from its traditional emphasis on developing and maintaining core financial systems. The finance profession is now an active participant and driver of change in competitive and business analysis, performance measurement, and the creation of new systems. These enhanced roles for finance extend far beyond the boundaries of accounting to include change management, new venture implementation, and the use of new business modelling software to allow better business planning.


Hiring managers across the finance jobs sector are looking for tech-savvy candidates, such as those individuals with outstanding Excel skills, ERP and SaaS experience, knowledge of business intelligence software, data analytics expertise, advanced modelling skills and familiarity with SQL. The individual must also have the ability to communicate at all levels with excellent interpersonal skills.


According to Accounting and Global, technical knowledge, skills and abilities and ethical competencies – the professional accountant’s technical and ethical quotient (TEQ) will remain the core quality underpinning their success. It is technical expertise and the integrity with which it is applied that makes a professional accountant unique. This knowledge will encompass not only accounting, tax and other specialisms, but also knowledge about governance and risk.


Employers will also be seeking finance professionals with advanced credentials, in addition to  technical skills. These credentials include:


  • ICAEW Chartered Accountant (ACA), Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), and Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) qualifications
  • Certified Public Accountant (in the U.S.) or Chartered Professional Accountant (in Canada)
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA) or another graduate business degree
  • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
  • Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA)
  • Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)
  • Certified Internal Systems Auditor (CISA)
  • Certified Management Accountant (CMA)
  • Certified Payroll Professional (CPP)
  • Project Management Professional (PMP)

Palmer stresses, “Our clients and the industry trade bodies are all still predicting high demand in 2016/17 for almost every type of accounting professional. Employers will be especially interested in hiring finance professionals for the following ten roles:

  • Accounting managers
  • Business analysts
  • Business systems analysts
  • Compliance officers
  • Financial analysts
  • Information technology auditors
  • Internal auditors
  • Payroll professionals
  • Senior accountants
  • Staff accountants


“Redline clients are also concerned about accounting and finance candidates having softer skills such as leadership qualities, empathy, teamwork, persuasion and negotiation. Whilst a finance candidate’s qualification will prove their technical competences, it is becoming increasingly important to be able to demonstrate how a candidate will build relationships and communicate effectively with different teams and levels of personnel and management within technology organisations.”


Image: Rachael Palmer, finance division manager at Redline Group



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