Which accountancy qualification is right for you?

With so many professional accountancy qualifications available, becoming qualified can seem like a bewildering task.

Patricia Barlow, Senior Accounting Tutor at Babington Group, will walk you through your options in her webinar on the 18th October at 7.30pm. She’ll look at AAT, CIMA, ACCA and ACA, and cover topics including:

  • Why there are so many accounting qualifications
  • Entry level qualifications
  • Advanced qualifications
  • How different qualifications can complement each other
  • Which qualifications are best suited to different career goals

Sign up to attend today.


Networking Evening for Future Leaders of Finance

Date: Wednesday 5 October 2016

Time: 6:30pm – 9:00pm

Venue: Radisson Blu Edwardian, West End, London

Register to attend now

Looking to develop your leadership skills as you move into a management role?

Get the latest leadership tips from Mark Doyle, Managing Director of The Method, leading corporate training company. Mark will reveal the specific leadership skills required for finance professionals to develop a successful career in management. Places are limited so register today.

Register to attend now

Over a 12 years, Mark has worked with senior finance professionals from Lloyds Banking Group, Thomson Reuters, Unilever and Sky, delivering a powerful and transformational training approach to measurably improve performance with results guaranteed.

This event is in partnership with Reed Finance, specialists in recruiting qualified financial and accounting professionals around the globe, working at Management Accountant, Finance Manager and Financial Controller level. Their highly qualified team deliver bespoke recruitment solutions to over 90% of FTSE 100 companies.

Search the latest accountancy & finance roles from Reed Finance

Senior finance professionals look to other industries to combat skills shortages

  • 61% of CFOs say that they have struggled to source candidates from traditional talent pools
  • 52% of senior finance managers would be prepared to consider candidates from another industry to fill a job.
  • However just 27% would be prepared to take on staff with a background in another profession.

Research from Robert Walters has found that 61% of CFOs have struggled to recruit candidates from traditional talent pools.

To combat these skills shortages, more than half of senior finance managers are prepared to consider candidates from another industry when recruiting into their finance teams.

Marcus Blackburn, Associate Director, Accountancy and Finance recruitment, Robert Walters, comments:

“The current candidate-short market has influenced many employers to relax previously strict policies of only hiring professionals who met the exact specifications for a role. Increasingly we are seeing hiring managers being prepared to look at candidates with transferable skills and experience which is not directly related to the role in question.”

“By broadening their hiring criteria these employers are able to access a wider talent pool, sourcing top professionals who would otherwise have been ruled out at the earliest stages of recruitment.”

Hiring Managers still cautious to recruit from other professions

However, despite the acknowledged skills shortage, the survey also found that senior finance managers are still somewhat reluctant to recruit professionals from other disciplines however. Just 27% said that they would consider a candidate from a different professional background.

Marcus Blackburn continues:

“Clearly there are certain roles where accountancy qualifications are essential to the job giving hiring managers limited scope to be flexible.”

“However, there are more junior and commercially focused roles in finance teams where these qualifications are not a prerequisite.”

“A relatively small but growing number of firms are taking advantage of this opportunity, recruiting highly skilled professionals with valuable transferable skills from backgrounds such as law and IT.”

“In many cases these candidates are able to bring unique experience and add new perspectives to the teams they join, giving them a significant advantage over more homogenous finance teams.”

“As skills shortages continue and the emphasis on finance departments providing strategic insights to the business grows finance managers can put themselves in a stronger position to deliver on objectives by expanding their hiring criteria to include professionals from different professions.”

Search the latest accountancy & finance roles from Robert Walters

What does a Finance Director do? – Webinar

The position of Finance Director is the pinnacle of achievement for many finance professionals, but even for the most ambitious, it may be unclear what is required of a Finance Director. Hear from, Andrew Fantham, Finance Director of Babington Group, a leading provider of AAT, CIMA and ACCA courses, on:

  • How he became a finance director
  • What he does day-to-day
  • What the biggest challenges are in his role
  • The most important traits and skills for a finance director

Andrew will also provide advice and tips for aspiring finance professionals looking to transition into a Director-level role.

The webinar will take place at 2pm on 5th August, click here to sign up.

Recruitment and the Referendum – What’s Next?

The only certainty is uncertainty in the short term, however, from a recruitment perspective for those organisations looking at hiring strategy or indeed those candidates looking to make their next career move at Marks Sattin we asked the question on everyone’s lips – what’s next? Marks Sattin proactively conducted a survey of 195 finance professionals on the morning of the referendum result to gauge opinion and gut reaction across our client base which spans financial services, commerce and industry and professional services – the results are perhaps unexpected and certainly make for interesting reading.

There’s an old French proverb “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” which means “the more things change, the more they stay the same”.  Given the media coverage, one would be forgiven for thinking that the business world is full of doom and gloom and preparing for major change however our survey found that an overwhelming majority of finance professionals (74%) believed the referendum result would result in no change in headcount, 19% thought there would be headcount reductions in Half 2 and just 7% thought there would be an increase. 

In terms of outlook from a personal perspective, things are looking positive for the finance profession with 88% of those surveyed believing that salary levels would remain the same and 67% expecting that there would be no change in retention levels at least in the next six months.

The general sentiment was that it was too early to predict what exactly would happen as there is too much uncertainty. When asked if particular skills would rise to top in terms of demand following the decision, there was no clear winner with a quarter of respondents either stating there would be no change or it was too early to be sure. 

Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the mechanism for governing a country’s exit from the EU, is an unknown entity and until the UK political landscape is settled and new prime minster takes over the realm and eventually invokes the treaty the future remains uncertain. It is clear that our clients and candidates are naturally cautious but remain optimistic about the outlook. The sentiment from our conversations on the day of the decision and in the following days has borne this out. Many businesses are keeping a watching brief and are prepared for a minimum 18 month to 2 year transition with an eye on the potential impact on the rest of the EU. The general consensus was to carry on business as usual at least for the immediate future.

Search the latest roles from Marks Sattin

Careers advice for Newly Qualified ACAs

Congratulations! You’re almost there, exams completed, hard slog over and contract about to end. Shortly you will be able to apply for your letters. So its decision time. You are working with some great people, many will be life-long friends, but now it’s time to start thinking about the next career step.

Do you stay in practice and progress towards Partner? Or is it time to make your first move out of practice and see what your options are in industry?

There’s no wrong answer. You’re at a unique stage of your career where the possibilities are literally endless.

  • You could talk to your manager about staying on in the firm and ask for their objective view on the Partnership route with your current firm.
  • You could look at moving to another practice and perhaps specialising in a particular area that interests you or perhaps to a smaller firm and taking on a broader role.
  • You could explore commercial opportunities, from large corporates to tech start-ups.
  • You could consider a role in banking and financial services.

But which path to choose? If your options are not clear cut, then it’s time to consider a number of questions:

  • What do you like and dislike about your current role?
  • How many Partner opportunities are there at your current firm, how long would it take, what will you have to do to stand a good chance and are you prepared to commit to all of that?
  • What client sector experience do you have, does that area interest you for a long term career?
  • Do you want to work in London/ Manchester/Birmingham/Edinburgh or will you consider relocation and if so where?
  • What type of corporate culture appeals to you? Large FTSE; private equity backed; not for profit, start-ups?
  • What are the key priorities of your next role?  More money?  Better work/life balance?  Location? Career prospects?
  • Is the industry sector most important, or is it the role and its content?
  • Are you just looking for your next step?  Or a business with longer term scope for progression?
  • Where do you want to be in five years’ time?

When you know the answers to some of these questions, you are in a much better position to assess the opportunities available to you.

We can help you work through these questions, gain insight from our industry experts, and ensure you get on the right career track for you.

CMC Consulting are financial recruitment specialists. To discuss the broad range of opportunities available contact our team – whether you’re looking for Audit Manager roles in London, Financial Controller positions in Hertfordshire, Finance Analyst jobs in West Yorkshire or anything in between, our Recruitment Consultants are experienced at providing sound advice and guidance that will help ensure you get your qualified career off to the very best start – to suit you.

View the latest finance opportunities from CMC Consulting on GAAPweb

Vincent Bowen is a Practice trained Accountant and specialist Finance Recruiter, with extensive experience placing Finance staff with a wide range of clients in Industry, Commerce, Financial Services and the Not for Profit sectors across the UK.

Accountancy bonus pot reaches £2.4 billion

Bonuses are a crucial part of accounting and finance professionals’ packages. The size of bonuses are often a bellwether for the performance of different sectors as a whole, with professionals usually taking home a greater share of the spoils during good times.

According to specialist finance recruiter Marks Sattin’s latest salary survey, this year accountants are feeling the benefits of a record £2.4 billion bonus pot, with the average accountant receiving a bonus worth 20% of their basic salary – or £13,000. This takes the average total earnings to £78,010.  The average bonus is now 21% higher than a year ago, when it stood at £10,730. In the longer term, there has also been an upward trend in bonuses. The overall bonus pot shared by accounting professionals has increased by £800 million from 2009/10, when it stood at £1.6 billion. While the global economy still faces potential pitfalls like the fallout from a potential Brexit, this increase suggests that pay and benefits are better than during the depths of the recession. 

The research also reveals that 69% of accountants are entitled to a bonus through a company bonus scheme, and that 55% received one. In terms of the sectors with the highest levels of bonuses, banking & finance has the most eye-catching figures. 13% of accountants practicing in this sector received a bonus greater than 50% of their salary, compared to 6% in both private practice and commerce & industry. Marks Sattin’s Market Insight report delves into the key motivations and career drivers of the finance community including a detailed look into the salaries, bonuses and employer benefits across the market.

For the latest accountancy roles from Marks Sattin, click here.

Transform your finance career with a move to Dubai

Excuse the cliché, but in my opinion, Dubai is the true Land of Opportunity.  A city of extremes in many ways; extravagant and overindulgent at times, it’s easy to forget that the UAE is less than 50 years old. Determined to hang on to its cultural heritage, the Arab Emirate continues to gallop into the 21st century, with the Expo 2020 keeping everyone inspired and moving forward.

Having moved here three years ago from London, I now consider the UAE home. It’s fair to say that you can expect to experience the good, bad and ugly that is typical of any large metropolitan city in the modern world. Working and living in Dubai can be exhilarating and exacerbating in equal measure but if you arrive here with an open mind and are sensitive to the cultural norms of the region you’ll be just fine.

The most obvious of benefits is the Tax-free income. One of the major attractions for expats looking to work in Dubai is that the government does not impose any tax on personal salaries. This also results in a higher disposable income per capita, making Dubai a very attractive place for work. The lack of taxes is also largely felt when buying a car and even more so when it comes to refuelling it at a snippet of the usual price back home.
Similar to London, Dubai has established itself as a very foreigner-friendly destination. Over 80% of Dubai’s population is expats from all over the world, resulting in an internationally diverse work force. It still amazes me how many International companies are only just arriving in Dubai, meaning opportunities a plenty for employees with transferrable skills that can help fast track their careers.
As stated earlier, Dubai is a relatively young economy despite advancing at a rapid rate, Dubai is still behind the curve in almost every sectors of industry. Therefore, it is largely dependent on the expat population to provide the necessary skills and expertise. This makes for a great opportunity for professionals who are looking to work or set up their businesses in Dubai.

Although compensation and benefits for professionals are not what they once used to be, most employers still offer an attractive salary package that includes, at a minimum 25 days holiday, comprehensive health insurance, and once-a-year airline tickets to fly to your home country.

Also, unlike other parts of the world, Dubai has focussed on a greater trend towards a better work-life balance and it’s something I hear my clients echoing on a regular basis.

Location, location, location. My personal favourite reason for being an expat in Dubai. The location alone makes it an ideal hub for many businesses and residents alike. Less than 6 hours of flying time from the majority of the world’s major business destinations including Europe, North Africa and Asia.

Finally, Dubai is currently the ‘in place’ with many celebs choosing Dubai as there annual holiday, so it’s hardly surprising that it also has world class attractions, entertainment and a dynamic night life for after-work amusement, making it a highly desirable and attractive place to work and live in.

If you’re interested in a move yourself, contact the Dubai team at Argyll Scott.

Chris McCann
Recruitment Manager
Argyll Scott

Benchmark your accountancy salary with Sellick Partnership

Sellick Partnership release annual Salary Guide and Market Insight Report, which shows need for creative remuneration package structures

Finance and legal recruitment specialist, Sellick Partnership, have launched their annual Salary Guide and Market Insight Report, showing jobseekers in the finance industry are looking for the full package when it comes to their next employer. In addition to a competitive salary, today’s jobseeker considers factors such as development opportunities, flexible working policies, private healthcare, corporate social responsibility and the employer’s brand when weighing up job offers.

Competition for talent is severe, and employers are facing the dual challenge of significant skill shortages, as well as retaining top professionals. Top candidates who possess niche, hard-to-find skills such as technical reporting regularly receive multiple job offers and are in a strong position to negotiate starting salary. Companies therefore must realise competitive remuneration packages are essential to attract and retain the best talent/candidates.

Hugh Almond, Specialist Financial Recruitment Consultant at Sellick Partnership adds: “It’s natural for employers to assume that annual pay reviews are the best way to retain staff, but it’s vital that the whole remuneration package is considered – by failing to do this they risk losing star employees and attracting fresh talent. With skills shortages and tough competition, finance firms must recognise the appeal of non-financial perks and work these into staff packages if they want to keep hold of the very best talent and maintain a competitive edge.”

For more information visit the Sellick Partnership website to download the Salary Guide and Market Insight Report.

About Sellick Partnership

Established in 2002, Sellick Partnership provides a range of recruitment solutions within the private, public and not-for-profit sectors, specialising in placing professionals into a variety of positions on a temporary, interim, contract and permanent basis. With a head office in Manchester, Sellick Partnership employs 70 people across its network of seven offices in the East Midlands, Liverpool, Leeds, Midlands, Newcastle and London. Sellick Partnership have been recognised as one of 2015’s ‘100 Best Workplaces in the UK’ by the Great Place to Work® Institute, as well as listed in the ‘1000 Companies to Inspire Britain’ report by the London Stock Exchange. Having also achieved Investors in People Silver and attained ISO 9001, Sellick Partnership are proud to demonstrate their commitment to quality, developing long standing relationships and delivering results.

Search the latest accountancy & finance roles from Sellick Partnership

Considering a career abroad?

A career-based move abroad has never been easier, in theory, although in practice there are many important factors that need to be considered. With increased globalisation, digitalisation, ease of travel and better linguistic capabilities, the modern world is now more equipped than ever to enable the relocation.

Having moved abroad myself three years ago from London to Singapore, I know all too well the advantages and disadvantages of taking your career (and life) to the other side of the world. There are a plethora of personal and professional reasons why I looked to do this, and many things that you really only discover once you’ve made the move.

Everyone has their reasons. Having lived and worked in London my whole life, gone through the largest white-collar recession in recent history, and having never really seen much of the wider world (especially Asia) all signs pointed towards a life changing move. I am fortunate to work in a people business, and luckily for me people are everywhere, so from a career perspective I had options. I’m also unashamed to admit that my move was heavily financially motivated, and having paid 40-50% tax in the UK, moving to an environment where I was paying 5-15% tax sweetened the deal no end.

I left London without any real ties. This made the move a lot easier, and meant I could effectively go where I wanted. Career opportunity aside, if you do have a spouse and children, you have other people to think about and it comes with a certain set of associated challenges. I can only really comment on the Singapore and Hong Kong markets, but it is important to note that if you do have children, finding good schooling is difficult, and extremely expensive. Housing can also be expensive depending on where you live, and couple this with the rapid disappearance of ‘expat packages’ (they really don’t exist anymore here), the move can be costly and chip away at some of the potential tax advantages. That being said, I don’t know many people in this part of the world who are worse off financially – family or no family, even with the additional costs of living attached.

There are certainly career advantages to moving out here, particularly into accountancy, finance and strategy roles in insurance as the sector continues to grow. Whilst it is slightly harder as an expatriate to get into Singapore and Hong Kong now given the growing demand for local talent, if you are able to do so you will get exposure to certain aspects of the market that perhaps the Western world isn’t able to offer right now. Asia is certainly not considered to be embryonic anymore, however it is much less advanced than the UK, and with growth potential comes opportunity. You are able to contribute to the industry at an exciting time, and we are certainly seeing a number of our UK contacts shifting their focus out East.

I will further add that the experiences I have gained in my three years of being here have matured me, made me better at my job (I hope) and given me a new found appreciation and perspective of different cultures and the global economy; it turns out that the UK really isn’t the centre of the Universe! I’ll admit – the first 18 months professionally were hard as I needed to adapt to a different culture, a different way of working and a new market. Singapore and HK can be deceiving as well, as given the Colonial roots that still have an impact today, it can be easy to perceive that everything is the same – it is not. At all. There are some subtle differences (and some not-so-subtle differences) that add to the allure and charm of my newly adopted home. It took me a while to get completely used to the working cultures of Singapore and Hong Kong although having now adapted, life has never been better. I’ve grown as a person, I’ve grown as a professional and can hand on heart say I am a better recruiter now than I ever was in London (you might even find some clients who will agree with me…).

Yes, it may be expensive at first, you will certainly miss some home comforts, and you will find cultural challenges at work that you didn’t even know existed. However, if you move you will grow as a person and you will learn to appreciate the value that you can bring as an outsider in a foreign land. You may stay for good, you may go home at some stage, but whatever happens you will be a much better person for it.
Oh – and did I mention the weather in the UK is terrible?!

By Mei Ling Reddaway – Head of Marketing, High Finance Group

Search the latest roles from High Finance Group