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Accountancy & Finance - Commerce & Industry

January - March 2015

Hotspots

 

Commercial Analysts - A continuing focus on analysis, process improvement, cost reduction and increasing efficiencies has created ongoing demand for candidates with strong analysis skills.  As long as employers want to maintain profitability while keeping costs down, these skills will remain in high demand.

 

Business Analysts – We’ve seen an increase in Business Analyst and analytical roles as employers want to streamline and improve processes, as well as identify new revenue streams. A number of employers are also reviewing historical figures and planning for the future. Given the high demand but short supply of qualified Business Analysts, employers have begun appointing non-qualified candidates with costing exposure. Business Analysts – and Systems Accountants – who can automate reporting processes to save time are also sought. Such candidates need macro level Excel skills or VBA programming and are sought for short-term projects.    

 

Systems Accountants - Candidates are sought to support system changes and implementations. We’ve seen a particular interest in candidates with MS Dynamics, SAP and Oracle systems expertise who can also drive process improvements.

 

Financial Accountants – Demand has increased for Financial Accountants with a compliance focus and those who are moving from a chartered environment into commerce. These candidates are sought for mid-level roles. We are also starting to see demand for Senior Financial Accountants as a result of natural turnover. When recruiting at this level, employers look for high calibre and polished candidates with Big 4 or second tier exposure as well as several years in commerce. This is however a niche area and there is a shortage of suitable candidates.

 

Management Accountants – Employers want to work smarter, not harder. As a result, demand is high for Management Accountants who can rationalise reports. Employers want to ensure they are only creating the necessary and fundamental reports required, as opposed to a suite of reports that are provided simply because they always have been. Further adding to demand is the focus on growth versus budget as businesses try to evolve as quickly and efficiently as possible. This is driving demand for candidates who can help automate processes and improve transparency. Candidates with a cost focus are also valued in response to ongoing cost pressure.

 

Business Partners - Candidates with leadership experience are in strong demand following a number of restructures and the desire to make team units more accountable. Candidates who can motivate staff and improve team culture are highly sought after.

 

Corporate Tax Accountants - Tax experts are sought by many commercial organisations that now want to keep this specialism in-house in order to reduce their external consultant costs.

 

Internal Auditors – There is a shortage of Internal Auditors in the market. Most organisations outsource this function, and as a result there is a shortage of candidates for those roles that are still retained in-house. 

 

Newly qualified Accountants - Companies are now looking at their succession plans and are expanding their teams. This is helping to create jobs for newly qualified Accountants, which is a very positive trend for the future of the industry.

 

Assistant Accountants – Businesses are focused on hiring and building capability within their teams once more. This is fuelling demand for Assistant Accountants, particularly those who are part or fully qualified and can balance the transactional side with analysis.

 

Accounts Payable – Internal restructures and staff turnover have created a need for employers to replace their departing Accounts Payable staff. In most demand are those who can complete high volume transactional processing, meet tight deadlines and balance a high volume of invoices. Employers want candidates who can add value, have a high level of data integrity and who are systems savvy. Candidates with large ERP systems experience are in particular demand.

 

Accounts Receivable Officers – Candidates with specialised debtors ledger experience are sought to work for larger businesses with ERP software. However there are very few systems-savvy Accounts Receivable Officers available in the current market. There is an excess of candidates who apply for these roles but most lack relevant experience and expertise. Demand for Accounts Receivable Officers is also rising thanks to an increase in sales and business activity.

 

Credit Controllers - As companies focus on efficiencies and maximising cash flow, Credit Controllers have seen the demand for their skills increase. In greatest demand, but short supply, are candidates with dedicated experience in a credit control role, who can negotiate extremely well and develop client and customer relationships. Employers also often ask for candidates with specific industry experience.

 

Payroll Officers – There is an ongoing shortage of good end to end Payroll Officers due to a lack of training in this area and a shortage of new entrants into this job function. Employers look for candidates who can implement change and put systems in place. They also value candidates with relevant systems experience, such as CHRIS 21, Empower, Micropay Meridian and ADP.

 

Part-qualified candidates – Many employers look for candidates who are studying, or soon to commence, their CPA or CA. Employers want people who are motivated, keen to progress and able to grow within the organisation.

 

Trends

 

We are seeing an increase in candidate movement at all levels. Senior professionals in particular are not afraid to move between industries, or take a short-term sideways step in order to move their career forward long-term. 

 

Employers meanwhile have started creating new jobs. Businesses are growing, and they are prepared to add new headcount. We’re seeing both permanent and fixed-term contract jobs on offer.

 

While most industries are active, we’re seeing particular demand for accountants with experience in the property and construction industries as well as IT. The commencement of new projects in these industries has led to strong hiring intentions.

 

The SME market is also growing, and much of the staffing demand comes from these businesses.

 

There are a lot of candidates looking for their next role, but highly-skilled professionals with the desired skills remain in short supply. So too are candidates with realistic salary expectations. This is important since employers have capped salary levels and are focused on controlling costs. In contrast, candidates who hold out for higher salaries find that, after some time, they are only able to secure minimal increases.

 

We’re also seeing an increased requirement for candidates with solid communication skills, since employers want staff who can liaise with both internal and external parties.

 

In other trends, employers remain risk-adverse and so a growing number prefer to trial a candidate in a temporary assignment. Many contracts are extended. If the candidate proves to be a suitable fit for the role and business, they are often offered a permanent position.  We’re also seeing growth in the number of 12-month contracts.

 

Larger corporates look for candidates with Big 4 or second tier backgrounds and several years of commercial experience. First-time movers out of the profession are in less demand since employers want candidates who can hit the ground running and who have been tried and tested.

 

Finally, it is still important that employers offer career development. Employees need to see a progression pathway otherwise they enter the jobs market looking for an employer who will allow their career to develop long-term.

 

In regional trends, the Federal Government's permanent recruitment freeze has impacted permanent vacancy activity in Canberra. Tasmania is seeing an increase in the number of roles, particularly fixed-term and contract roles, as employers can no longer postpone the need to increase headcount in key areas. The State Government freeze is however a concern for the state. An interesting trend in Queensland is the focus from manufacturing organisations on recruiting Site Accountants with solid manufacturing and costing experience, as well as previous experience working closely with operations managers.

 

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