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By Howett Thorpe, a finance recruitment specialist based in Surrey.  

Staying up to date with the latest financial recruitment trends and leveraging new technologies is crucial — both for job searching and the hiring process.

The finance and accounting sector has been going through some significant changes lately. So, let’s take a closer look at some of the key finance trends we can expect to affect the recruitment industry over the coming year…

  1. Rising salaries

A lack of pay rises has been a familiar theme for many accountants and financial controllers in recent years. Salaries can vary greatly depending on candidates’ qualifications. However, we’re now seeing many candidates receive multiple offers where top talent has been at a premium, which in turn pushes the salaries bandings up.

Through 2020, we can also expect a lift in salaries for accounting and finance roles across a variety of markets. This is largely due to sustainable levels of growth and heightened employer confidence. For further details on salary trends within commerce and industry across the South East, download our 2020/21 Salary Survey.

  1. Updating new business recruitment strategies

In the past, newly established businesses have been slow to hire their heads of finance and financial controllers — preventing them from reaching their growth goals. However, these types of companies are now starting to realise the value of hiring strong accounting and finance professionals early on in the venture.

By taking a proactive approach to their recruitment strategy, founders can hope to build a strong financial backbone. This tactic will help them to meet their revenue targets and stay on top of technical accounting challenges.

  1. Bridging the talent gap

Competition is rife for skilled accounting and finance professionals. However, despite high demand, many companies are struggling to fill vacant roles due to growing skills shortages and a lack of suitable applicants.

Advances in technology are changing the requirements of finance and accounting jobs. Now, candidates need to be able to do more than just crunch numbers. They need diverse business and technology experience, as well as a range of soft skills.

To address these skills shortages, organisations will need to rethink their recruitment process to tap into new talent pools filled with strong, technically skilled candidates.

  1. Attracting millennials

Attracting younger members to the workforce has been a salient challenge for the financial recruitment industry. Some companies have been fearful of hiring millennials because of lack of experience and a supposed entitlement syndrome.

In many markets, millennials are already demonstrating that what they might lack in experience, they more than make up for in soft skills, enthusiasm and a willingness to learn. To help plug the talent gap in the finance and accounting sector, businesses need to be diving into this extensive talent pool of future leaders.

  1. Harnessing the power of AI

Understandably, there has been some concern that a rise in artificial intelligence might threaten the security of accounting and finance jobs. However, rather than replacing these roles, AI will likely make them more interesting by improving functions and processes.

By taking a lot of the tedious and repetitive tasks out of the finance sector, artificial intelligence will allow finance and accounting professionals to spend less time on day-to-day admin tasks and more time on high-value work instead.

When it comes to recruitment, candidates will need to demonstrate a good understanding of and a willingness to adapt to these technological developments.

  1. Increasing demand for auditors

Thanks to ever-changing laws and regulatory requirements, the accounting and finance sector is starting to see an increased demand for audit roles.

Historically, this function has been the policing agent of the company. Nowadays, audit roles are starting to become much more involved in making strategic and valuable decisions about the direction of the company. Internal audit now also plays a part in helping businesses to integrate AI into their systems and automate processes.

As such, these types of roles are starting to emerge as a fantastic value-add for companies across all markets. This is a real shift in thinking from the days when they were seen strictly as agents of governance.

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