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What does the future hold for accounting and finance jobs?

18/08/14

Accountancy has always been seen as a solid career choice and for good reason.

It requires impressive analytical skills, initiative, a strong work ethic and the ability to deal with complex people and complex issues. For this, you can expect a handsome salary and plenty of scope for career progression for those who work to the required standard. It is much the same story with jobs in other areas of finance as well, although the public image of bankers has arguably yet to recover from the global financial crisis of 2008, even if the economy is well on its way to recovery.
So, accountancy and finance jobs have in the past been attractive propositions. The question is, do they still represent a sound career choice?

The marketplace

The UK has a financial services sector that is the envy of the world, making it one of the best places for accounting and finance jobs. While the last few years have been challenging as a result of the global financial crisis, the UK - and London in particular - is booming, and this is good news for those looking for accounting jobs.
Indeed, a report released earlier this year by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation together with KPMG found that accounting and finance jobs was one sector that saw significant expansion last year. Salaries also climbed in line with those in other sectors as well.
As far as the health of the market is concerned, there is plenty to feel positive about and while nobody can predict the future, London's boom and the wider recovery seen in the rest of the country means that the picture looks bright for the foreseeable future.

Getting a foot in the door

For those who have obtained the necessary qualifications, the next step is to search for and secure one of the accounting jobs out there.

Like all sectors where there are lucrative returns to be enjoyed, competition for accountancy and finance jobs is fierce.

This is where specialist financial recruitment firms come in. They know what accountancy firms want in a candidate, which means any prospective accountant needs to get to know them pretty quickly.
There are some steps that people can take to make their CV stand out from the others; using action words to describe previous experiences rather than just stating that they have experience at firm X,Y or Z is one example.

Other things to consider include following up with the recruitment firm regularly and being flexible with regards to taking temporary jobs. With the latter point, many temporary positions become permanent for those who apply themselves, so ruling them out can turn out to be foolish.

While everyone wants to reach the top where the huge salaries are to be found, the old adage of learning to crawl before walking is very much apparent with regards to accounting and finance jobs. Those in entry-level roles should show a willingness to follow a logical career progression and not go for jobs that they have no chance of getting - it is a waste of everyone's time, so simply don't do it.

Mid-level and advanced-level applicants need to accurately describe their experience and give specific details regarding things such as the number of people the person was responsible for and the size of the budgets they managed.

Financial recruitment firms can make life a lot easier; however, by the same token, the applicant needs to make their life easier as well. A polished CV, realistic expectations, flexibility and tenacity tell recruiters that this person is serious - and given that accounting is essentially about managing money, seriousness is a good trait to demonstrate.

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