You've passed, but is it too soon to move?

As successful trainees polish their CVs, Roger Trapp finds that the smartest new accountants may decide to stay put

It is not hard to tell that the latest PEII chartered accountancy exam results are out. Recent weeks have seen two leading recruitment agencies publish surveys on that time-honoured rib-tickler, the CV. Both Hays Accountancy Personnel and Robert Half & Accountemps suggest that the motive behind their efforts is to be instructional - "to discover the most common pitfalls" and how to avoid them. But the additional notion of revealing "some of the classic errors" suggests a desire to entertain at this time of career soul-searching for so many.

Hence we gather, from Hays, that the most embarrassing typing errors are "experience working for a big sex firm" and "My main hobby is marital arts" and are asked to believe that somebody actually wrote "I have a criminal record but I am not in jail at the moment", or admitted that they left their last job because they had been arrested for shoplifting. Further suggestions of dishonesty being rife come in the Robert Half effort, which claims that nearly a third of companies surveyed felt that at least half of the candidates they see were being "economical with the truth in their CVs, either leaving out detrimental facts, exaggerating or lying outright".

Of course, in the recent past employers have been able to get their own back on such deviousness: the shortage of jobs has enabled them to be a lot more choosy than they were in the mid-Eighties. Now there is more or less general agreement that, if those heady days have not returned, there are many more jobs around than there were.

So who is going to get them? No surprises here: those who are academically well-qualified, are personable and have something special to offer - whether it be rocket science A-level, if the position is derivatives trading, or fluent Serbo-Croat, if the interviewer is intent on setting up business in the war-torn Balkans.

The only problem with this is that - for all the Monty Python jokes and the accusations of greyness levelled at accountants - increasing numbers of people fit those criteria. According toHarrison Willis, the long-established recruitment consultancy, "the new chartered accountants of 1995 may well be the best all-round finance professionals the ICAEW has ever produced".

The organisation believes that these young accountants have benefited - though they may not have realised it at the time, of course - from the tougher conditions imposed by the recession. "Under pressure to perform and add value to their employers' businesses, trainees could no longer afford to be perceived as recorders and checkers, but had to learn a whole new set of commercially oriented skills," it says.

According to Charles Logan, a director of Hays Accountancy Personnel, such abilities should stand candidates in good stead. "Clients are looking for slightly more in accountants than accountancy skills," he says. Indeed, the demands of the customer-driven approach are leaving the old preoccupation with number-crunching behind. Even allowing for the fact that today's newly qualified chartered accountant is likely to be somewhat more rounded than his or her predecessors, employers are still prepared to offer substantial premiums to those who stand out from the crowd through having certain languages or skills.

Some, such as Iain Small of Robert Walters Associates, suggest that the pendulum has swung so far that employers are finding it difficult to persuade the people they want to leave public practice. The smaller numbers taken on for training contracts mean that those employed feel they have more opportunities and are more secure. As a result, in a market where the competition has not yet driven salaries up, they are proving a little resistant to the blandishments of the banks and others.

Mr Small, who works with the company's banking division, admits that there is also a danger of people like him giving candidates too many choices. Pointing out that this risks making them confused, he says: "They have to make the best decision for them rather than for us."

James Wheeler, managing director of Hewitson-Walker, a recruitment consultancy that specialises in temporary positions, also cautions against succumbing to the pressure to move. "In nearly every case there's an advantage in staying on for a year or so," he says.

Not as convinced as many of his rivals of the upturn in vacancies, he believes that good accountants are likely to find much greater demand for their skills in two or three years' time, when they will, in all probability, be an expert in something. Using the time to gain an extra language will do no harm - and it is becoming impossible to be too well versed in information technology.

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
Jonas Gutierrez (r) competes with Yaya Toure (l)

Newcastle winger is in Argentina having chemotherapy

Arts and Entertainment
Blossoming love: Colin Firth as Stanley and Emma Stone as Sophie, in 'Magic in the Moonlight'

Actors star in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'

Watch this commuter wage a one-man war against the Circle Line
We are phenomenally good at recognising faces; the study showed that humans have been selected to be unique and easily recognisable

Human faces unique 'because we don't recognise each other by smell'

Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show?
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
lifeShould we feel guilty about keeping cats inside?
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck

Man's attempt to avoid being impounded heavily criticised

Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
The Guildhall School of Music and Drama is to offer a BA degree in Performance and Creative Enterprise

Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum

Returning to the stage after 20 years makes actress feel 'nauseous'

Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
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 Consultant - Soho - IT, Pharma, Public Sector

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35,000 first year: SThree: The SThree group i...

    Sales Executive

    £20 - 24k (Uncapped Commission - £35k Year 1 OTE): Guru Careers: We are seekin...

    Payroll & Accounts Assistant

    £20 - 24k + Benefits: Guru Careers: This is a great opportunity for an enthusi...

    SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £280 - £320 p/d - 6 months

    £280 - £320 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week