While the UK banking sector still rests on shaky ground, there will always be a demand for fresh talent. Positions for part- and newly qualified accountants, Certified Public Accountant and temp roles are available.
Good candidates with niche experience are getting multiple offers, according to Tom Kennedy, director of Interim and Contract Recruitment at London’s Cameron Kennedy financial recruitment.
“The prospects are good for candidates who have something to offer, for example qualified accountants with extensive IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards) experience, or investment banking product knowledge. Risk specialists should find opportunities relatively easy to come by as well,” Kennedy says.
Though the market has been turbulent, the outlook is still positive. “The lay-offs have been well publicised, but the general perception at the moment is that though many are staying put people will listen to good opportunities; there is significant movement in certain sectors, such as Insurance,” he adds.
Indeed, the good opportunities do come around, and this in turn is creating more confidence in recruiting and job hunting, with increased hiring across all sectors, from banks to commerce.
Who is hiring?
If you’re talented and have experience, take a leap and apply to work big, private firms.
“The public sector is not really hiring, but the financial services business sector, and a lot of the larger accounting and firms, are quite to keen to bring on as much talent as they can,” Kennedy says.
“Our clients continue to rely on flexible staffing, that is temps and contractors. Relevant experience and proven ability should guarantee consistent employment.” Banks and commercial markets often hire temps, but timing is important. They will recruit as the financial year comes to a close near March and April. Tax accountants can find temporary work in the run-up to the deadline for personal tax returns in January.
Getting a job
So the time may be right, but how do you make sure you stand out from the crowd. The key is having a good CV.
“Agencies receive hundreds of CVs daily through job boards, many of which may not be relevant, so make it clear what your key skills are,” Kenney says.
It’s also crucial to include key words in your online CV, such as IT systems, product specialisms or regulatory/risk skills, as agencies regularly do database searches.
Also have all your references to hand. Additionally, it’s imperative to highlight your qualifications, especially any with the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Chartered Institute of Management Accountants or Associated Charter of Certified Accountants, or overseas equivalent.
Don’t sell your experience short. Highlight it in roles such as project accountant, payroll supervisor or internal auditor.
Expected pay rates
Junior level, part-qualified accountants can expect £30,000 a year or £120 a day contract work; newly qualified accountants can earn £45,000 a year or £250 day; higher-end accountants make £350 a day; payroll assistants earn £23,000 a year or £18p/h; payroll supervisors make £27,000 a year.
• Make sure you add context to your CV. Highlight the primary clients that you have been working with – the size and type of the businesses and, if they are well known, include the name.
• Highlight any practical work.
• Stay flexible in terms of salary and position. Don’t accept something you don’t want but keep an open mind.
• Tap into your network, you might be surprised at the results.
• Before you even leave home, send over CVs and let possible employers know when you will be here and what you’re looking for.