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?
Independent Dating

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

    £15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

    Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

    £40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

    SThree: Talent Acquisition Consultant

    £22500 - £27000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: Since our inception in 1986, STh...

    Day In a Page

    John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

    Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

    'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
    Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

    Dying dream of Doctor Death

    Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
    UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

    39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

    There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
    Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

    Computerised cooking is coming

    From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
    Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

    Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

    The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
    10 best barbecue books

    Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

    We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

    Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

    Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
    Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
    Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

    No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

    Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
    Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

    Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

    The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
    Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

    Something wicked?

    Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
    10 best sun creams for body

    10 best sun creams for body

    Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

    Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games