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Where Are All the Finance Candidates?

  • May 20, 2020

The COVID-19 outbreak has altered the dynamic in recruitment. While some industries have seen recruitment freezes, others are struggling to locate the employees they need.

With furloughs and some inevitable redundancies in various organisations and sectors, finance and accounting departments remain necessary throughout, which has contributed to a shortage of finance candidates.

With almost half of senior leaders in the financial services sector reporting high competition for finance roles, and now the added challenge of recruiting in the age of coronavirus – finding the right finance candidates is not an easy task.

Companies looking to hire and retain finance employees are struggling to locate the talent they need. Today, I want to discuss why, and what your organisation can do about it.

The Skills Shortage

A general shortage of candidates is the first problem organisations must contend with to hire their next Credit Controller or Payroll Assistant.

Before the COVID-19 outbreak, employers were struggling to hire talent due to a skills gap. Data from the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) Jobs Outlook Report found that between May and July 2019, 46 per cent of employers of permanent staff expressed concern over finding enough suitable candidates for their vacancies.

The skills shortage in the UK has increased year on year, as employers struggle to locate finance candidates for pivotal roles within their team.

Businesses Competing for the Best Finance Talent

The headlines we have seen recently about COVID-19 potentially damaging the UK job market do not tell the whole picture.

Shortly before the coronavirus hit the UK, chancellor Rishi Sunak boasted of a ‘national jobs miracle’. There was indeed a steady growth of jobs in many sectors, and tying in with the skills shortage, many employers were struggling to locate talented employees.

While the hospitality, retail and travel sectors have been affected, in many areas of the UK economy, there is a steady progression.

The coronavirus outbreak, however, has put an unprecedented strain on many finance departments, due to recent financial activity – let’s take a closer look.

Finance Departments Affected by Coronavirus

Finance departments have had to alter their regular schedules in line with new increased financial activity.

Cashflow forecasting, audits, tax, accounts assistants dealing with debts – all of these roles have been put under increased pressure due to changes caused by COVID-19.

Nearly 300,000 companies applied for CBILs (Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans) last month. Pausing and taking stock of all incomings and outgoings is not something which finance departments had planned to do at the start of the year. For this reason, many businesses are seeking extra help in finance departments right now.

There has also been a sharp increase in credit controller roles as businesses futures look uncertain and as some will inevitably close permanently. A quarter of all UK businesses have temporarily closed due to COVID-19, with half a million companies reporting that they are in ‘significant financial distress’.

For now, and the foreseeable future, recovery and debt collection will be a focus for many finance departments, with an increased need for employees within these roles.

For businesses that remain open, getting their finances in order after the significant changes that coronavirus has had is a difficult task, the scale of which we will not know for weeks to come.

Remote Recruitment

Finally, an additional problem that businesses have had to contend with is the physical difficulty with hiring at the moment.

Social distancing measures have meant that the face-to-face interviews have been halted and recruiting in general in lots of companies has ground to a halt – despite there being empty vital positions.

Many businesses are not equipped to conduct virtual recruiting, and in light of the recent situation, there hasn’t been time to set up a process.

If you are in need of finance candidates for a vacant role, and you haven’t got remote recruiting procedures in place – we can help. Get in touch with us here to find out about how our recruitment service is continuing and how it can help you recruit in lockdown.

How We Can Help

If you currently have a finance vacancy in your organisation and are struggling to navigate the current job market to find appropriate candidates, we can help.

Our team of experts are working remotely to help you find the finance candidates you need to help your organisation through this challenging time. If you have a finance vacancy you would like to discuss, get in touch with our team here today.

About Clayton Recruitment

Clayton Recruitment has been partnering with organisations across the country since 1989, and during that time has built up an excellent reputation for trust and reliability.

With specialist divisions covering Commercial, Financial, Industrial, and Engineering appointments, on both a permanent and temporary basis. If you are looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

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5 Strategies to Help Your Finance Employees as They Work From Home

  • April 21, 2020

If like many other legal practices, you and your team are embarking on an unspecified work-from-home period, you might be wondering how best to approach it.

It might be the first time many of your finance team have adopted remote working practices – but this doesn’t need to be a barrier to success.

Your team can work just as efficiently from home.

In fact, as a business, you are in a great position. Many job roles are not as easily adapted to working from home, but with a few alterations, you can have a fully functioning remote finance team – here are the best-practice strategies to support your team through the transition.

1. The Right Equipment

First and foremost, it is essential that you provide your finance team with the items and equipment that they usually have at work. As an employer, you shouldn’t instruct your team to work from home and expect them to make the necessary arrangements.

This means recreating their usual workspace to the best of your ability – PCs, laptops, calendars, broadband and even their desk if necessary. The more you can make your finance team feel as though they are still ‘at work’, the less their productivity will suffer.

2. Checking In

Once your finance team are remotely set up and working from home, it is crucial to step-up the amount of contact you have with them.

It is more critical than ever right now to help your finance team feel connected to one another – a lack of connection in your team can reduce productivity (more on this below).

At least once a day, get together with your team on a conference call or a video link so that they can discuss and share any issues or positive news that they would typically share with their colleagues.

With Skype, Zoom, FaceTime and WhatsApp, it’s easier than ever to catch up with your team on video – there’s no reason for your finance employees to feel disconnected from the business and the rest of the team.

3. Changes With Clients

The COVID-19 situation has caused upheaval in many finance practices across the UK. Depending on your clients, there will have likely been challenges in your business brought about by the virus.

Have things changed with your clients? Are you having to re-visit clients or make fast changes to work that you thought was complete?

The change to the interest rate, an increase in card payments and the unexpected beginning or ending of contracts are all problems that are facing practices trying to help their clients adapt to the current situation.

Given these changes, you must spend extra time making sure your team know exactly where they are with clients. Offer extra help throughout this time and be prepared for changing situations with clients until things settle down.

4. Mental Health

Adapting to working from home can be challenging at first and coupled with the stresses of the coronavirus, this can make it even more difficult for employees to change.

Aware of how the current coronavirus situation has the potential to affect the nation’s mental health negatively, the NHS has produced a guide to helping you stay positive throughout the lockdown period which you can find here.

Looking out for your finance team’s mental health throughout this challenging situation will ultimately lead to a stronger team. Remember to have regular one-to-ones with your employees, even just sending a message telling them to contact you if they want a chat can be of significant help.

5. Helping Them Stay Productive

While some employees will find the deviation from the norm unsettling, recent studies suggest that for the right people, working from home can increase productivity levels.

In light of the recent increase in remote working, we have put together a guide to help employees be their most productive selves, which you can share with them (you can find it here).

Using the strategies I have outlined here, it is entirely possible that your finance team can continue to produce their best work while working from home.

Before You Go

We have been working closely with financial practices across the North West to help them through the challenging situation that COVID-19 has created.

Have your business needs changed recently, and should this be reflected in your recruitment efforts?

If you would like to discuss your recruitment priorities and find out how Clayton Recruitment can help, call us today on 01772 259 121 or contact us here.

About Clayton Recruitment

Clayton Recruitment has been partnering with organisations across the country since 1989 and during that time has built up an excellent reputation for trust and reliability.

With specialist divisions covering Commercial, Financial, Industrial, and Engineering appointments, on both a permanent and temporary basis. If you are looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

If you would like to download our latest interview checklist, you can do so here.

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Suffering Mid-Year Career Blues Is It Time To Leave Your Current Role?

  • September 5, 2019

Accountancy can be incredibly rewarding, but as with many great jobs, there comes a set of specific difficulties. Going through a tough period at work, and wanting to leave and join a different firm are two different things – so, how do you spot the difference?

There is a big difference between dreaming of a new job and actively seeking out new opportunities. At this time of the year, many people’s minds start to wander to the ‘what-if’ situations.

If you have come back from your summer holiday and realised that something isn’t quite right in your role – this article is for you. A little time away from your company can sometimes give you the fresh perspective on your career that you need to ask the question – ‘have I got the mid-year blues, or it is time for a change?’

This article should help you find out which it is.

The Accountancy ‘Calender’ Isn’t Always Easy

Now, this is an understatement if we’ve ever heard one. Yes, accountancy can be incredibly tough – long hours, deadlines that seem impossible, and not to mention the hectic seasons dictated by the taxman.

Did you predict that accountancy was going to be tough when you decided on this as your career path? Think back – you probably did, but might not have realised the extent of the pressures.

It is natural in any sector to have peaks and troughs – times when you feel like you’ve got the best job in the world, and times when you don’t want to get up in the morning. The usual ebb and flow of any career is not something which should be making you write your resignation letter, but if you’ve felt unhappy in your accountancy role for quite a while now, it could be a sign you’re ready for something new.

January through to March is when an accountant’s work will seem never-ending, with the end of year tax deadlines looming and every client wanting a moment of your time.

This can make some people feel overwhelmed, while others thrive on it.

If you feel as though you’ve lost your passion for accountancy of late, is it simply the mid-year slump that has left you feeling deflated? If you’re someone who thrives on being busy, having quieter times such as the summer can be the last thing you want.

During quieter periods, however, there are steps you can take to make sure that you’re not getting bored in your role.

Ask your manager if there are any other tasks or projects that you can take on during the summer lull. They will be happy for the help, and you might learn a part of your firm’s processes that you weren’t aware of before – it could be the start of a learning curve for you.

It is important to remember that if your firm always gets quieter this time of year -it might be just a lull. Compare January to June during the times you’ve been in your current role to assess the typical trajectory of your workflow.


Where Do You Fit In?

Some people say that when you know a job isn’t working out – you just know.

As a recruiter, I witness accounting employees and candidates at all stages of their career journey and this experience has given me a good handle on some of the main reasons people feel unhappy, and finally decide to leave their current role.

Yes, sometimes it is about the salary and the compensation packages, but quite often – it is down to the company culture.

Working for an accountancy firm where you get on with and share the same values and interests with other staff members can be a joy. It some cases it can even make up for other less desirable elements of your job.

A recent workplace study found that 56% of employees valued a good company culture fit over salary.

Did you take this particular accounting job because of the high salary? If so, did you also carefully weigh up if you are a good fit within the culture of the firm?

Quite often, when employees start to feel disengaged and eventually unhappy at work, they think ‘why do I feel like this? I’ve worked hard to get to this salary level!’ without realising that their ‘perfect fit’ of a job is to do with far more than the salary that lands in their bank account each month.

Your mid-year blues could be a sign that you are working in a firm whose culture you don’t fit in with. Talking to a specialist recruiter can help you figure this out.

How Can a Recruiter Help?

Recruiters don’t just deal with placing candidates in roles (although, that is what we are famous for!). Every day, we deal with inquiries about roles, we are sought out for advice from both candidates and clients, meaning we have an in-depth knowledge of the deep-seated and variety of reasons people have for looking for a new job.

If your current accountancy role isn’t making you as engaged as it once was, call us today to discuss your options. We recruit for a variety of accountancy roles – we might have the role you’ve been searching for.

About Clayton Recruitment

Clayton Recruitment has been partnering with organisations across the country since 1989 and during that time has built up an excellent reputation for trust and reliability.

With specialist divisions covering Commercial, Financial, Industrial, and Engineering appointments, on both a permanent and temporary basis. If you are looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

If you would like to download our latest interview checklist, you can do so here.

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The Secret to Hiring A Great Accountant For Your Team

  • April 20, 2019

Keeping your company’s finances healthy is one of the most important responsibilities for any business. Every penny of revenue needs to be accounted for, bills and payroll have to be paid on time, and tax responsibilities need to be met.

In managing issues of credit and debt for your business, you can’t afford to cut corners. It’s vital that your organisation maintains accurate financial statements and records, and unless you’ve outsourced these responsibilities to an accounting firm, these tasks fall on the shoulders of the company’s accountant.

As your business grows, it would be a good idea to consider relieving yourself of financial management and working with a professional. If your company is ready to hire its accountant, it is essential that you find someone who is suited to your business’ needs. In this article, we’ll cover how you can find the right accountant for your company.

What to look for when hiring an accountant

If your company has the funds and is positioned for strong business growth, it makes much sense to bring on a full-time accountant. You’ll have the peace of mind knowing that a trained professional is keeping an eye on your company’s financial figures and growth at all times.

In addition to having business acumen, excellent organisational skills, and a strong aversion to risk, accountants must be trustworthy, highly precise, and great with numbers. Moreover, if they are working in a client-facing role or as part of a team, they also need to have great people skills. Finding all those qualities in one individual is a tall order. But to meet your business goals, you need to have the right people in place.

The best advice we can offer is to work with someone who understands your business. You could start by asking contacts in your industry to refer you to their recommended accountant or accounting firm. Working with a specialist recruiter in your industry – especially one who has served you well in the past – also has some advantages.

Once you’ve shortlisted some promising candidates, arrange to meet each accountant for an initial consultation. Here’s what you should assess during your interview:

An all-encompassing financial professional

Can the accountant handle your business needs? Depending on the size and complexity of your business, you may require a strong team to dedicate themselves fully to your business’ financial needs, working directly with you on high-level business planning.  Make sure whomever you choose to work with is capable of handling all of your present accounting requirements as well as those for the foreseeable future.

Assuming you’re hiring your first in-house accountant, you’ll likely need someone who can do it all, rather than specialising in a specific area. A well-rounded accountant should be able to not only maintain the company’s general ledger regularly but should also be capable of using it to point out trends and opportunities for financial growth.

They’ll also need to be able to manage payroll, ensuring that every employee is paid correctly and on time as well as managing expenses and paying bills. In addition to managing the ledger and payroll, your in-house accountant will be responsible for correctly paying your business taxes on time as well as maximising your deductions throughout the year.

Ability to communicate the numbers

Ultimately, you probably want someone who is able and willing to get past the jargon. Tax regulation, for example, contains a lot of technical language. You should look for an accountant who can explain high-level tax topics in an accessible way. An accounting professional who helps you understand financial topics more deeply will also enable you to better understand and manage your own business.

While communication is key in any job, it’s especially important for someone who solely manages a company’s finances. The nuances of accounting are complicated and difficult to grasp for anyone who isn’t a trained accounting professional. The best accountants can present these complicated concepts in layman’s terms.

You should seek an accountant who can meet with your leadership team and outline problems and opportunities in a way that everyone can understand — that way the team can discuss the best course of action and make the right decision.

An understanding of your industry and business type

Do they truly understand your business? An accountant who works predominantly with clients in your particular industry will hold specialised, up-to-date knowledge that could help you take advantage of tax breaks and deductions available to your business. They’ll also know how to navigate your type of business through any changes in tax law as and when they occur.

You should not only seek candidates who are well-versed in all aspects of accounting; you should also look for a financial professional who has the right background for your business. An ideal accountant will be familiar with how your specific company operates. If they already have experience working with companies in your industry, they are more likely to understand the costs and operating procedures of your business, which could be especially beneficial for tax preparation.

Additionally, you should seek a financial professional who has experience working with businesses at a similar stage as your company. They should know what opportunities and challenges lie ahead, so nothing catches them off guard as the company continues to grow.

An expert in the latest technology

Like most professions, accounting is being constantly shaped by new technology. Modern software helps accounting professionals efficiently accomplish tasks while giving them deeper insight into their company or client’s financials.

While many younger accountants are embracing this new technology, others continue to favour out-dated solutions. When meeting with a potential accounting employee, it’s crucial to ask them what software they use, why they prefer it and how they see technology impacting the profession in the future.

You’ll want an accountant who is up to date with the latest office technology, as well as someone who is willing to learn and embrace new technology. This flexibility and willingness to implement new technology will prove crucial to the future success of your company.

About Clayton Recruitment

Clayton Recruitment has been partnering with organisations across the country since 1989 and during that time has built up an enviable reputation for trust and reliability.

With specialist divisions covering Commercial, Financial, Industrial, and Engineering appointments, on both a permanent and temporary basis. If you are looking for help with recruiting call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

If you would like to download our latest interview checklist, you can do so here.

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How To Start Your Accountancy Career Off On The Right Track

  • April 10, 2019

Whether you’re fresh out of uni with a degree in accounting or you’ve just recently changed career paths and received your accountancy qualifications, the world is now your oyster. In addition to being one of the world’s oldest professions, accounting has always been one of the most in demand. Moreover, while certain professions may come and go, the world will always need more accountants.

With a high median salary and a constant demand for qualified accounting professionals, the time has never been better to join the field. However, you’ve probably already realised just how large and diverse that field is. With so many opportunities to apply your skills in some different areas, knowing where or how to start your career can be a little overwhelming.

So, here are some tips on how to get your accountancy career off on the right track.

Set Career Goals And Be Focused

Rather than applying for the first position that you find, start by clearly defining your goals and mapping out an accounting career path. Before starting your job search, make sure you’ve carefully considered the following questions:

Where do you see yourself in five years? What would you like to have accomplished by then?

Do you want to specialise and if so, which areas of accounting do you want to focus on? How could you gain more expertise in those fields?

Do you want to work as part of an accountancy firm, or would you instead work in-house for a particular company/industry?

Are you willing to commute long distances or even relocate for a job?

What sort of salary and benefits do you aspire to in your career?

Are you willing to work more extended hours to get ahead quickly, or is work-life balance more important to you at this stage in your life?

Know What Employers Are Looking For

Being aware of what potential employers are looking for from accounting candidates is essential not only in planning your job search but in preparing for future interviews.

Beyond the basics – requisite education and qualifications – companies are often looking to work with or hire an accountant who understands the ins and outs of their business. Having at least some experience in a relevant industry can go a long way in landing you a job with a company. For example, if you’re changing careers and already have a background in retail or manufacturing, you might consider applying your accountancy skills in one of those industries.

If you’re interviewing to work as an in-house accountant for a company, they’ll also want to make sure that you’re the right fit culturally and that you have the soft skills to match your accounting chops. Are you a reliable team player who can work well with others, and are you able to communicate beyond the numbers? These are just some of the questions potential employers will want answers to when considering you for a role.

If you want to specialise in a certain area of accounting, working for an accountancy firm or a larger private company with their own accountancy team may be the right move for you. However, if you’re aiming to work with a smaller business, where you are likely to be their sole financial professional, you’ll need to be able and willing to do a bit of everything, from record-keeping and managing payroll to preparing taxes. In addition to ensuring that you have these sets of skills, employers will also want to know whether you are up to date with using the latest accounting software.

Access Contacts And Build New Networks

As the saying goes, ‘It’s not what you know; it’s who you know.’ Knowing how to make connections at professional conferences and networking events can help open doors to new jobs. Keep in mind that your most valuable contacts may not be the obvious ones (those working in accounting). For example, your next-door neighbour may have a brother who’s a CFO at a growing company.

While real-world networking can still be highly effective, social networking online has become equally (if not more) important. In addition to reviewing all of your social media accounts to make sure they cast you in a favourable light, making sure your LinkedIn profile is complete and polished is every bit as critical as keeping your CV up to date.

As the world’s largest professional network, with over 550 million members worldwide, LinkedIn is an extremely valuable resource for both researching and networking with potential employers. Maintaining a complete profile that’s replete with the right keywords can be a highly effective way of connecting with the kinds of companies you’d like to work for.

Work With A Specialist Recruiter

In addition to networking, finding a specialist recruitment consultant who is willing and eager to invest time learning about your skills and preferences can give you a definite edge in your job search. You’ll want to work with a specialist recruiter with connections within the accounting field who can help you find opportunities that suit your background and career interests.

In addition to saving you valuable time in your job search, a good recruiter will help to prepare you for interviews by giving you insightful background information about potential employers. And since recruiters are paid by the company they place you with, they have an incentive to find you the highest-paying position possible and will serve as a strong voice on your behalf during salary negotiations.

Businesses ranging from start-ups to large companies routinely use recruitment companies to locate potential hires with in-demand skills and experience. By working with a specialist recruiter to boost your search, you can increase the likelihood of landing the right position with the right company, thus setting your accountancy career off on the right track.

About Clayton Recruitment

Clayton Recruitment has been partnering with organisations across the country since 1989 and during that time has built up an enviable reputation for trust and reliability.

With specialist divisions covering Commercial, Financial, Industrial, and Engineering appointments, on both a permanent and temporary basis. If you are looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

If you would like to download our latest interview checklist, you can do so here.

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