Hiring for regulatory changes dominates Accounting & Finance recruitment

Scott Grundy, Team Leader | Investment Management Accounting and Finance Recruitment , Morgan McKinley

Recruitment of accounting and finance candidates in the first quarter was buoyant with asset management, investment banking, FinTech and regulatory changes influencing hiring trends.

OVERVIEW OF Q1 ACCOUNTING & FINANCE RECRUITMENT

We have noticed that the job flow within asset management and investment banking has been excellent, but bonus payments are down and flat. GDPR, MiFID II and IFRS have dominated the sector, with professionals being hired to account for the regulatory changes. The FinTech remit is growing and continues to improve market confidence.

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Despite Brexit uncertainties, the majority of positions have been filled with new hires rather than replacements. This said, the impending exit from the EU  has played a role in the sense that we have seen a slight increase in roles away from London in locations including Jersey, Luxembourg and Malta.

Accounting & Finance recruitment in the Thames Valley has seen an increase in Newly Qualified and PQ roles within the larger FTSE organisations, whilst senior hires within these businesses have been incredibly slow. However, there has been an increase of SME companies recruiting senior roles, so those candidates have found the market to be buoyant. Companies looking for newly qualified candidates from Blue chip organisations have found the competition to be incredibly strong – demand is high but the candidate pool is sparse.

IN DEMAND AND HIGHEST PAYING ACCOUNTING & FINANCE ROLES

Fund Accounting:  Senior Positions (Director/Head of fund accounting, fund controller) that require 10+ years specific fund experience on a range of funds, more commonly private equity and debt. Experience in high level reporting, stakeholder engagement and in most cases the exact fund – whether it’s private equity, real estate or debt funds. Candidates placed in these positions were passive, but clients are willing to search and pay for the best talent.

Salaries: £80,000 – £120,000

Business Partnering, FP&A: Predominantly mid to senior level roles, with several VP level positions across the top tier investment banks. Specific industry experience is not generally required, but we have continued to place commercial accountants from banks to asset managements, and from a commerce and industry background into financial services. Processes for these type of roles continue to involve multiple stages, including presentations and meetings with board members and Partners.

Salaries: £80,000 – £120,000

Regulatory Reporting: Mostly AVP Level roles within the liquidity space, but senior roles have also been available. Key jobs coming through included regulatory accountant, regulatory reporting accountant and liquidity specialist. We have seen a shift from contract to permanent positions as regulatory changes ramped up, meaning there is extra headcount for the roles. Organisations are willing to upskill junior candidates as long as the key fundamentals are there; candidates who attend regulatory seminars and keep up to date through their own reading tend to excel in interviews.

Salaries: £60,000 – £100,000

Senior Financial Controllers: Number of SME businesses are looking for senior financial controllers – these companies usually require candidates to have worked in similar organisations to where the role is based.

MOST DESIRABLE SKILLS AND QUALIFICATIONS

As of Q1 2018, fund accounting, business partnering and regulatory exposure have all been desirable, as have ACA Big 4 candidates who have group experience with consolidations. On top of this, senior level candidates have had to display various examples of process improvements at the interview stage.

For graduates and juniors, having worked in small practices or hands on experience from completing an ACCA are more in demand than previous years, whilst those who are ACA Qualified continue to be highly demanded. We are noticing a trend of clients looking for candidates who didn’t go to university but went straight into a role, either in industry or within professional services audit.

The majority of top tier Investment Banks continue to look for the best academic backgrounds, with internships standing out amongst the crowd. Candidates who have specific Excel qualifications can differentiate themselves and be in a favourable position when looking at financial accounting or reporting roles.

JOBSEEKER AND HIRING MANAGER MOTIVATIONS

Candidates have been looking to move roles early in the year due to poor bonuses and various restructures. The industry saw a number of merges last year which naturally causes a knock on effect of duplicate roles and duties. Hiring managers have tried to do most of their hiring as early as possible in Q1 as candidates wait to receive bonuses before handing in their notice. Mid level candidates are looking to move to companies with flatter structures so they have autonomy to grow within the company.

Jobseekers move because they are looking for more flexibility, and there are a lot of people who are looking for roles not purely for an increase in base salary. The SME market seems to be growing and a lot of new roles in this area are causing organisations to recruit talent.

CHALLENGES AND Q2 ACCOUNTING & FINANCE PREDICTIONS

Challenges

Companies need to recognise that work-life balance is a major influencer that tempts top candidates – additional benefits make an offer look more attractive

GDPR – all companies are under pressure to make sure they are prepared

Positions have moved offshore due to Brexit or offered on a temp to perm basis originally starting in London

Predictions

More NQ roles to follow as wave of ACA’s come through

Increase in positions from large Investment Banks in Q2

Clarity around Brexit plans

Competitive candidate market in the build up to summer

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