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Accountancy & Finance - Commerce & Industry

January - March 2016

New South Wales

Candidate shortages across many roles in NSW are expected to continue this quarter. The number of available jobs is on the rise across the temporary and contract space and also for replacement hiring. We have noted particular growth in temporary accounting support roles particularly across credit and payroll.

Overall we are seeing an even split between hiring temporary and permanent candidates. The exception is at the senior level where hiring on a temporary-to-permanent basis is not uncommon.

Assistant Accountants, Credit Controllers and Payroll Officers are all in high demand. However, for payroll specialists we note that the salaries being offered are out of step with the short supply of candidates and their higher salary expectations.

Exceptional Excel skills are also a priority.


Soft skills are playing a more significant role in the selection of senior accountancy and finance staff in Victoria. Saying that, many employers promote from within for senior roles and then backfill vacated roles.

Overall, we are seeing a preference for hiring permanent staff and employers are looking for candidates with similar industry experience, solid work histories and good communication skills. Employers are starting to open up to recruiting strong candidates from overseas even those without Australian experience.

We continue to see a lot of part-time roles in bookkeeping and payroll from small to medium employers while many large employers are off-shoring these tasks.

In the oil & gas and energy sectors redundancies are still occurring for accounting and finance professionals, particularly Accounts Receivable Officers as this position is being outsourced to centres overseas.


Employers in Queensland are very selective when they recruit. They are taking a cautious approach to hiring by requesting specific industry backgrounds and systems experience as well as assessing a candidate’s personality to ensure culture fit even for short contracts.

Preferred candidates must also have strong technical skills and be able to act as a business partner and build important client and stakeholder relationships.

Payroll and Accounts Payable candidates are in particular demand.

The restructuring of finance teams and employee movement has seen some new senior jobs come to market.

Northern Territory

We continue to see some recruitment of senior finance professionals, mostly Financial Accountants and Management Accountants, although employers are struggling to find candidates with the industry experience they require. These candidates are sought for both permanent and temporary roles.

Qualified, experienced candidates within financial services remain in very short supply, particularly Certified Financial Planners (CFP). Employers are no longer willing to grow their own CFPs and invest in training entry-level staff only to see them move interstate once certified. Financial Planners already in jobs will not consider a new opportunity unless the offer is too good to refuse.

Within accountancy support we are seeing some demand particularly for Bookkeepers. Candidates specialised in high volume payroll are also in short supply.


An increase in the demand for contract Payroll Officers is matched by rising employer expectations for candidates.

Western Australia

The focus in Western Australia is on temporary recruitment. Strong candidates, especially at the senior finance level, continue to become available. Often employers are not replacing staff, or are making redundancies, however they are also aware that in high risk areas teams cannot do the same with less people and are therefore utilising temporary staff.

Skills in demand

In terms of skills in demand over the January to March quarter, accounting professionals with technology skills, particularly around using data to understand and improve the business, will be in high demand.

Accountants and Analysts able to provide in-depth modelling in various industries to either save costs or drive profitability are also sought. In fact, Financial Analysts across commercial, business and financial and Business Analysts (BA) are both in solid demand. BAs are needed to provide insights into how the business is performing and can position for growth and Financial Analysts are sought to reconcile systems and information.

At the more senior end of the market, Management Accountants are being recruited to analyse forecasts and budgets.

Senior Financial Accountants are also sought to act as the second in command to the Chief Financial Officer, but they are in short supply. In small companies, Finance Managers are being recruited to provide a mix of skills to the business.

Financial Accountants are also needed to provide assistance with half-year end and then year-end results.

We are also seeing strong demand for Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable candidates.

Credit Controllers with SAP collections experience are needed too along with Payrollers with experience across all major systems.

Bookkeepers are considered great all-rounders and a cost effective hire as they have a broad range of skills especially as systems help to reduce workloads and the time it takes to complete payroll tasks.

Finally, Assistant Accountants are in increasing demand as companies grow and accountants find they need assistance to manage their growing workloads.

Candidate trends

Candidates in demand know their worth and are becoming choosier about the roles they want and less flexible about the rates they will accept.

We are also seeing candidates more inclined to tailor their resume to the job opportunity they want including changing their current or former job title to avoid appearing over qualified.

In Brisbane, a number of executive-level finance candidates are looking for temporary/contract work and are frustrated that this type of engagement is typically reserved for roles at the lower levels.

In Western Australia the market is tighter. While there are still good opportunities in the challenged resources and oil & gas sectors, savvy candidates in search of stability are keen to look outside these sectors to new areas such as aged care, utilities, health, agribusiness and State Government.

Candidates are looking for roles closer to home. Less are willing to travel into the CBA from the Western suburbs.

Experienced and highly skilled candidates are looking for contract opportunities and employers should be capitalising on this available talent.

In Darwin, we are seeing the arrival of many international candidates but employers are reluctant to recruit them then spend time training them in Australian accounting principles and software.

We are also seeing a mismatch in salary expectations between employers and candidates for Finance Officer roles.

Overall, we are seeing more candidates placing a higher value on work environment and culture rather than just job role and salary.

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