Employers want skill, not run of the mill

Aspiring accountants may need more than a degree to secure a job,

These are curious times in which to earn your spurs as a young accountant. The improved confidence in the economy means there are more positions available. Because there is still an "overhang" of candidates, however, employers are generally happy to report that salaries are not going up by more than the inflation rate.

The other result of the plentiful supply of young accountants is that recruiters can be picky. "Employers are more demanding in the kind of people they are trying to attract, with few prepared to settle for a run- of-the-mill accountant," says Dominic Wade of Wade Macdonald, the South- east-based financial recruitment consultancy.

Desirable attributes are first-class communication skills, the ability to be a team player, a second European language, knowledge of information technology and an appreciation of global business issues. Blue-chip companies generally require a degree, while US-owned companies may specify an MBA and accountancy qualification.

Despite these hurdles, Mr Wade joins in the general chorus that the fortunes of the profession, which can rarely have seen times so tough as in recent years, are improving. "If accountants can offer the additional skills required by today's more discerning employers, this year is likely to provide some of the best job prospects since the late Eighties," he says.

Denis Waxman, managing director of Hays Accountancy Personnel, is in general agreement. He says: "Employers want to hire the best and nothing but the best. The 'give them a try' mentality of the Eighties has disappeared and the recession has made employers more cautious."

In one area, though, recruiters are being bold. They are increasingly favouring members of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants for vacant positions. Another recruitment consultancy, Harrison Willis, says: "Cima membership is firmly established as the qualification of choice across commerce, industry and much of the financial services sector." Some 41 per cent of employers questioned in Britain expressed a preference for Cima-trained accountants, compared with 33 per cent for chartered accountants. A further 18 per cent had no preference, while certified accountants only received about 8 per cent of the votes.

The figures continue a phenomenon first apparent at the end of 1994, when demand for those qualifying with Cima, which had been growing since the mid-Eighties, surpassed demand for those with chartered accountant qualifications.

Chartered accountants have maintained their concentration only in London, with just over half of employers in the capital favouring the qualification. This is thought to be because leading banks still lean towards the chartered qualification, particularly if it was gained while training at one of the Big Six firms.

Such clear preferences mean that although salaries are not rising quickly, outstanding candidates can pick and choose. "There is no question that for those candidates who have the right blend of technical knowledge and business awareness the opportunities are outstandingly good, whether they are in commerce and industry, public sector or public practice," Mr Waxman says.

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Foreign Exchange Dealer - OTE £40,000+

    £16000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Foreign Exchange Dealer is re...

    SThree: Experienced Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £40000 per annum + OTE + Incentives + Benefits: SThree: Established f...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40/45k + INCENTIVES + BENEFITS: SThree: The su...

    Recruitment Genius: Collections Agent

    £14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company was established in...

    Day In a Page

    The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

    They fled war in Syria...

    ...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
    From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

    Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

    Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
    Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

    Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

    Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
    From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

    Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

    From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
    Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

    Kelis interview

    The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea