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Accountancy & Finance - Commerce & Industry

October – December 2014


Group Accountants – Multinational groups with 30, 40 or 50 entities require this specialist skill set to bring results together. Complex consolidation experience is a genuine differentiator that makes top quality candidates stand out.

Cost Accountants – The focus on efficiencies in most businesses has created high demand for Cost Accountants. Competition in the manufacturing industry in particular has led to demand for qualified professionals who can proactively manage margin and labour costs.

Finance Business Partners / Commercial Analysts – Employers are strengthening their teams with analytical expertise in order to look into costs and improve profitability. While this can be one of the more oversubscribed roles, top quality candidates are in high demand as organisations look to maximise the commercial application of accounting principles and results.

Cost Analysts – Businesses are driving efficiencies and making operations more aware of commercial matters. This is creating demand for candidates who can focus on cost optimisation and work with divisional managers.

Supply Chain Analysts – We’re also seeing demand for Analysts in this area in order to drive improvements in a supply chain function and optimise finances.

Management Accountants – Employers are looking for commercially orientated Management Accountants with a broad-based skill set that encompasses transactional, reporting and analytical expertise. Candidates with a Big 4 background in addition to commercial experience continue to be viewed highly. Employers are also recruiting part or recently qualified candidates who have assisted with the preparation of budgets or forecasts and have worked with non-finance staff. Such candidates are considered a valuable entry-level resource because of the commercial impact they can have. We’re also seeing a need for Management Accountants with relevant industry experience. Meanwhile, new roles are being created to fill gaps resulting from a change in structure as organisations move towards a more commercially focused output. Candidates who can drive change are sought for such roles.

Senior Management Accountants – Senior Management Accountants are also sought in organisations that want to bring in skilled and experienced expertise below the management level. This is driven by increased pressure to deliver insightful and accurate management reporting to drive commercial behaviours and outcomes.

Financial Accountants – Candidates with proven accuracy in statutory reporting and who are strong in managing audit processes are needed. Employers also look for candidates with industry experience.

Technical Accountants – Organisations are progressively looking to bring technical accounting expertise in-house in order to reduce consulting fees. This requires candidates who can research accounting standards and who have solid business acumen in order to put together a position paper that is commercially minded.

System Accountants – These candidates are sought for contract roles, particularly in regional locations such as Wollongong. Traditionally such candidates moved to our major cities to secure work. Consequently there is a shortage of suitable candidates in regional centres.

Finance Managers – SMEs are streamlining and recruiting candidates with a broad skills base who are capable of taking on both management and statutory reporting.

Finance Officers – While there is a good supply of candidates at the lower level, there is a shortage of experienced and qualified Finance Officers who are well versed in various software systems.

Assistant Accountants – Businesses are focused on hiring and building capability within their teams once more. This is fuelling demand for Assistant Accountants, particularly those with qualifications.

Accounts Payable – We continue to see a shortage of strong AP candidates who can meet tight deadlines rather than solely process. Employers want candidates who can add value, have a high level of data integrity and who are systems savvy.

Accounts Receivable Officers – Very few systems-savvy Accounts Receivable Officers are available in the current market. There is an excess of candidates who apply for these roles but who lack relevant experience and expertise. Demand is also rising thanks to an increase in sales and business activity.

Credit Control Officers – The pool of available candidates in this area is often not of the high volume and quality that employers are looking for. In Queensland, Credit Controllers with oil & gas industry experience are also sought.

Payrollers – There is an ongoing shortage of good Payrollers 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 Empower and Chris 21.


Employers are focused on increasing their ability to gain relevant business insight. They want more information on performance, and thus candidates who can analyse performance in greater detail and compare it to competitors.

There is also a focus on improving processes or implementing systems in order to save time and get systems working as efficiently as possible. The project nature of such roles means that commercial candidates are needed for temporary assignments.

Also noteworthy is the emergence of strong pockets of growth across the services sector, which has led to the creation of new positions.

Across Australia the skills shortage remains an issue. While there is an excess of candidates who lack qualifications or have minimal exposure, employers in contrast want candidates with solid experience.

They will also wait for a candidate with the right cultural fit, even if the role then remains vacant for some time. This more strategic approach is to ensure longevity and team fit. Once identified, suitable candidates are secured quickly.

We are also seeing a general trend of employers looking for candidates who trained in a Big 4 accounting firm and have experienced their first role in commerce, but who are now looking for their next step. Employers are interested in such candidates as they usually possess a solid mix of both technical skills and commercial acumen, along with an ability to manage internal stakeholders.

Temporary recruitment remains a popular choice for employers, who like to trial a candidate before offering them a permanent job. The exception is at the senior level, where employers prefer to secure their ideal candidate in a permanent role.

Temporary assignments are also increasing as companies undergo business transformation or improve their processes and procedures (including system upgrades and implementations).

In terms of state-based trends, the most notable are in our nation’s smallest state and territory. In Tasmania, the release of the state budget at the end of last quarter should create confidence and thus increased vacancy activity. But in ACT the Government continues to grapple with the minority Senate to get their legislation through. This is impacting hiring activity in Canberra as new policy or program initiatives are put on hold, which in turn impacts the local private sector.

Another state-based trend exists in Darwin, where there is a balance of new jobs being created and replacement roles. The Territory continues to attract high numbers of candidates who are relocating from overseas, but without practical Australian experience they struggle to gain employment. The transient population in the Territory also remains a challenge for employers.

In Queensland we’re seeing high demand for accountancy and finance professionals with oil & gas industry experience. Cost Controllers and Transactions Officers with high volume oil & gas experience are in particular demand. Most high quality candidates in these areas are retained by their current employer, and employers sometimes find that competitors are offering inflated salaries to attract the talent that is available.

Regional areas of Queensland are also facing a shortage of suitable candidates with high volume exposure and experience within the aged care sector. Local candidates in regional locations tend to have smaller company experience, not high volume skills. Candidates with industry-specific technical skills and/or ERP systems experience are also needed in regional locations, but tend to be attracted to the broader range of roles available in our nation’s cities.


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