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Newly qualified CAs – it’s decision time!

Newly qualified CAs – it’s decision time!

The skill set and professional qualifications of newly qualified accountants are held in extremely high regard by organisations.

Even in the current turbulent economy, many organisations are thriving and recruitment levels, albeit subdued, will return to normal. Internal restructures and promotions are inevitable and it is vital that companies recruit new talent at a newly qualified level so that they can continually progress and promote from within.

The hardest decision for you, as a soon to be newly qualified chartered accountant, is which area you are best suited to and what the ideal role for you is. The great news is that there are a variety of options that you can pursue across different industries that will help you develop different skills and strengths.

Despite the macroeconomic concerns around Brexit and the Coronavirus impacting hiring activity, organisations will continue to invest in securing top finance talent. The crucial caveat however is the need to adopt a sensible and realistic approach to your job search as the current turmoil will alter the landscape. It may for example be more challenging for a candidate without say FTSE-100 audit experience to move in to a similar role within a FTSE-100 business.

Let’s take a look at the options in more detail.

Banking & Financial Services – strategists highly sought

Market conditions are challenging but accountants are very much in demand. Banks and financial institutions more so than ever need to protect themselves through the effective use of controls, reporting, increased regulatory reporting and stress testing. The focus on risk and changes in FCA regulations has heaped pressure on financial institutions and how they manage liquidity and self-regulations. This has for example led to the growth of internal audit and regulatory accounting functions.

Banks also offer extensive training and development plans for newly qualified CAs who have had no prior experience of the sector. So if you’re thinking of a career in banking straight from practice, there are many benefits and advantages. Beyond the technical accounting skill set, financial institutions are looking for strategic players who can add value by identifying the drivers behind the figures, as well as being able to advise the business on how to execute its commercial strategy.

The following breakdown details the anticipated demand across the following business areas:

Commerce & Industry – focus on group/financial reporting jobs

Newly qualified candidates are set to remain in demand within C&I. While blue-chips are hiring fewer candidates straight into financial analysis/ financial planning and analysis positions, they are preferring instead to leverage the individual’s technical skills in group or financial reporting roles. This is especially prevalent among SMEs where vacancies often afford a broader remit. A significant uplift within food, drink and niche manufacturing is anticipated. Salaries are set to remain in line with 2019.

Professional Services – buoyant demand for advisory and consultancy

Newly qualified accountants will continue to be in high demand for advisory and consultancy jobs, especially within restructuring, audit and assurance during and after, when this period of uncertainty settles.  Firms are aligning their talent requirements with their business strategies. There isn’t a one size fits all approach and each business will be doing what is in its best interests, and those of its employees and clients. Accounting services are a crucial service line and will continue to be once a new normal resumes.

Not-For-Profit – understanding company values

Charities and the wider not-for-profit sector will continue to recruit newly qualified accountants into key technical roles within their organisations during 2020. They are looking for candidates with an appreciation of their corporate values and drivers.  While many are continuing to recruit candidates with strong commercial and analytical experience, they still require candidates with the core skills for technical financial accounting and internal audit jobs.

If you’d like talk through your options and learn more about the qualified CA market and salary expectations, please contact Marsha Ford at marsha.ford@fyte.com

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