Future prospects for the professional services market

Paul Roche our consultant managing the role
Author: Paul Roche

What should we expect from our current market, and what is the future for roles in professional services?

In times of crisis, the accountancy industry tends to thrive. But will the profession still be a stable career choice in the months and years to come post-Covid19? New research would suggest a resounding yes!

The Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) shows that the accountancy and finance sector is seen as the third most stable profession, behind health and pharmaceuticals and teaching, which is good news indeed. "

A downturn will, at some stage, lead to an upturn in the market. The 2008 recession is testament to that. Accountants found themselves in demand to help companies restructure, identify unnecessary expenditures and navigate complex – and possibly advantageous – tax laws. 

With this in mind, what are the prospects of securing a new job in accountancy over the coming year?

Prospects over the next 12 months

“Finance is recession-proof,” says my colleague Karen Chilton who adds her insight on the recruitment landscape for an article in the AAT.

“Accountancy isn’t a luxury for business: it’s important.”

In the immediate future, accountants will be busy, as companies dealing with the financial havoc caused by the coronavirus, and certain sectors will profit. Karen continues: “we have seen an increase in vacancies for insolvency practitioners; something that’ll become increasingly important over the next few years.”

The surge in insolvency/restructuring experts is perhaps no surprise given that the revenue streams of many firms have been decimated by coronavirus, meaning they’ll be looking to cut costs and consolidate resources.

Prospects over two to five years

When the financial crisis triggered by Covid-19 subsides businesses will want to future-proof themselves, if this happens again, to make sure that all staff are upskilled and able to work across multiple sectors. Also, data analysis will be key, and an accountant with this knowledge will be in demand. The skill set will be someone with good accountancy skills, with the ability to interpret data to highlight where opportunities might be within a business, or new markets they can access, or even make businesses more lean.

Accountancy practice prospects going forward

There could well be more openings within the accountancy practices due to clients needing increased help/advice when dealing with the economic chaos unleashed by Covid-19. This presents a good market for young job-seekers.

Coupled with the government’s furloughing scheme complicating payroll runs for many companies, smaller practices will need to take on people to perform these tasks. A payroll assistant, and software packages that they use, may become a sought after commodity.

Audit opportunities in the future

Due to changes in audit regulations, second-tier firms will find audit assignments pushed out to them, rather than the big four, so there could be opportunities within these firms. These second-tier firms will be good places for accountants to find work, because they will be getting busier, and will want to find quality candidates.

Please visit our dedicated professional services page for more content, opportunities, and advice. 

30/09/20
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