UK Companies Challenged by Financial Growth, Finds Robert Half Salary Survey

A twin speed job market has emerged over the past 12 months and will continue into 2013, according to the 2013 Robert Half Salary Guide. Highly skilled accounting and finance professionals remain in high demand despite more stagnant general job growth. The majority (78%) of UK chief financial officers (CFOs) say that it is challenging to find skilled financial professionals, and as a result organisations are paying more for the market’s brightest and best candidates.

The shortage of strong candidates, together with the general slowdown in new hires, means that finance departments are generally being asked to do more with less: creating the finance growth challenge. Candidates who are particularly in demand include those with strong process analysis change management and project implementation skills as well as those commercially-aware accountants who can add value by performing business partnering functions throughout the business

The move towards global financial reporting and regulation means that there is demand from certain companies for International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) specialists to help prepare for the January 2015 deadline. Candidates with previous experience in converting organisations from UK Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) to IFRS can expect to command competitive salaries.

Experience in systems implementation is also highly valued. Pension auto enrolment will create a new requirement for systems to be updated and for the finance department to partner with HR and payroll departments to ensure that organisations remain compliant with government legislation.

Accountants who can conduct detailed financial and strategic analysis to help companies understand trends affecting the business, identify cost savings and ensure that their firm is well-placed for business expansion are particularly sought after.

Up and coming talent is also in demand: companies are looking to the future and shaping their succession planning strategies. Companies are seeking newly qualified accountants with five or more years’ experience, particularly for those with some industry experience outside of public practice.

Phil Sheridan, managing director, Robert Half UK, said: “The hiring climate has evolved to address the finance growth challenge. While some companies lack the revenue growth needed to increase headcount, others cite lack of access to credit and working capital, which is stopping them from hiring the talent needed to commit to new ventures or expand operations. However, our research shows that business confidence has improved, with most CFOs saying that they are more confident in their companies’ growth prospects than last year. Finance professionals are benefitting from this optimism as companies look for additional insight and strategy into business process improvement, cost savings and new revenue sources.

“Offering competitive compensation can help organisations attract top professionals and keep them on board. While pay is not the only factor employees consider, an attractive remuneration package can often be the difference between welcoming employees to your team and watching them accept job offers from competing organisations.”

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