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How to Overcome the Challenges of Hiring Accounting Professionals

  • December 22, 2020

As an employer or a hiring manager, recruiting right now is as challenging as it can get.

And that’s down to the fact that we are in a saturated market. The Covid crisis has caused job losses in some sectors. Still, more so, it has caused movement in the market from accounting professionals speculatively applying for roles as they think and consider their future like never before.

This poses a problem, as the most valuable candidates become swamped by a sea of possibilities.

So how can you hire the ‘right’ accounting candidate when the odds are stacked against you?

Today, we look at the dangers of hiring in a saturated market, and some expert recruitment strategies which can help.

 

1. Getting Your Person Spec Right

One of the most significant challenges of hiring in a saturated market is not knowing exactly what you’re looking for. When you narrow down what you’re looking for to the exact skills, attributes and personality traits you want, this makes the search easier.

We are currently helping organisations define their finance and accounting job specifications, which has become invaluable in their recruiting process as they redefine their roles for a post-Covid market.

  • Have the skills you need in your next accounting professional changed?
  • Do you need to hire finance experts with the skills of tomorrow, but aren’t sure what to look for?

We can help you define your finance and accounting roles and person specs to narrow down your search – get in touch with us here to find out more.

2. Hiring for Culture

Another huge change in accountancy recruitment since the pandemic is the need for team players who can be flexible and adaptable while having the organisation’s best interests at heart.

During the Covid crisis, many organisations realised for the first time which of their finance team were true team players, and which were disengaged in their roles.

A successful finance team includes individuals whose values and culture align with their employer, whether that’s in a financial practice or a larger organisation’s finance team.

Any management guide will tell you that cultivating a positive and unified culture in your team is necessary for success. Yet, so many hiring managers still put this low down on their list of priorities.

Creating a set of non-negotiable values that you want your team to have will narrow down your candidate search even further, which is essential when hiring in a saturated market.

3. Organising Your Recruiting Timeline

Making some key changes to your recruitment process will allow you to make difficult hiring decisions much easier.

Improve the speed of your hiring process so that recruitment isn’t taking up weeks or even months of your valuable time. Start with the end date in mind – the date that your new recruit needs to be in their role by, and work backwards from here. A Benchmark survey on career timelines found that the average recruitment process takes 24.5 days, how long does yours take?

Ensure you have a stringent timeline and stick to it. When you start pushing dates backwards or worse – hiring without consulting with all stakeholders – this can create a messy and stressful recruiting experience for everyone involved.

4. ‘Selling’ Your Organisation to the Right Candidates

At a time like this when you want to attract the best candidates, it might just be time to re-evaluate all of your recruitment collateral and employer branding, so you attract the candidates you want and repel the ones you don’t.

A few questions for you.

  • Do you have an excellent employer branding strategy
  • Do you regularly update and share about your company on social media?
  • Does your hiring manager respond in a timely way to candidates both online and during the recruitment process?

Right now, developing your brand awareness as an employer of choice needs to be a part of your recruitment strategy.

5. Working with a Recruiter

Finally, the most valuable step you can take right now is to work with a recruiter.

At Clayton Recruitment, we can take care of all the stages we have outlined here, which, at the moment, is a big undertaking for HR departments which are already pushed for time and resources.

Making the right hiring decision is so critical right now, the last thing any organisation wants is to find out that they have made the ‘wrong’ accounting hire shortly after appointing them.

Your finance team needs to be full of the most talented, best-suited experts for your organisation.

Next Steps

If you have struggled to attract the finance candidates you want and have found that recruitment is becoming a challenging task as you are faced with an increasing amount of CVs and applicants, we can help.

Please get in contact with our expert recruitment team today to find out more about our recruitment service. We don’t just guarantee that we will find you the best possible candidate, we also protect your investment so that if the candidate doesn’t work out, you get your full investment back.

Don’t run the risk of making the ‘wrong’ hire from the many candidates available; use our guaranteed recruitment service to find your ideal candidate in a saturated market.

Call us on 01772 259 121 or contact us here to find out how we can help.

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, and Engineering appointments, on a permanent 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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How Clayton is Responding to Market Needs For In-Demand Sectors

  • December 4, 2020

Many industries are driven by their sales and marketing functions, and in our post-Covid world, these departments in your business have become more critical than ever.

Likewise, finance and accounting teams have been the backbone of businesses throughout the pandemic.

In any organisation, both of these parts of your business need to be staffed with the right, dedicated team, to achieve success; and as you grow your business next year, these departments will play a pivotal role.

Despite the pandemic, many industries such as online retailers are doing well, as the market shifts to accommodate the way businesses and their customers are acting to navigate the new normal, we occupy.

In the UK, the sectors that are doing particularly well include banks, certain food and beverage organisations, construction, financial services, healthcare equipment and technology.

Of course, this is a broad picture of the UK, and each business will have its own story to tell.

But what is true everywhere is that organisations who plan to grow next year and come back stronger from the pandemic will need to concentrate on having the best sales and marketing experts, as well as astute financial professionals in key roles.

Today, we look at the importance of both the sales and marketing and finance and accounting functions in your business, and how Clayton can supply you with the talent you will need here for 2021.

Let’s look at where one of the most significant opportunities is right now – sales.

Capitalising on Sales Opportunities

One area we are seeing vast growth is in sales, both in B2B and B2C.

In times of economic uncertainty, this is historically a prime opportunity to increase sales as businesses and individuals are looking to you as a market expert to provide what they need right now. And we saw this in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic this year. It was not the businesses who furloughed their sales departments who are riding high right now – it is the ones that carried on with their sales processes even in spite of the pandemic.

However, the UK has not experienced the worst of the economic downturn that was expected; in fact, the economy is recovering strongly from the Covid period.

Depending on the nature of your business, you will likely have experienced challenges and opportunities this year, perhaps in some unexpected areas. To grow this year and capitalise on opportunities in the market, many organisations are now expanding their sales teams with experienced, talented sales executives.

The most vital asset to any business now as we enter back into a period of healthy trading is a strong sales team – talk to us today to find out how we can help.

Marketing

Marketing has also evolved massively since the start of the pandemic.

The change in consumer habits, government restrictions in this country and wider global business influences have meant that marketing your business probably looks much different now to what it did at the start of the year.

Having an excellent marketing department in place right now is critical.

Sectors which are doing well since the pandemic include online retail, tech, construction, consumer goods and green energy, will require increasing numbers of talented individuals next year to strengthen these brand messages.

Digital marketing software and CRMs like Salesforce have increased their market share during the pandemic as companies realise the importance of nurturing relationships with customers.

A few questions for you.

  • Have you invested in digital marketing or CRM software recently?
  • Are you getting the most out of your sales team?
  • Do you need to provide them with better tools or better management?
  • How many additional people might you need?

All these are considerations for organisations today. We know because we are working with companies daily who are building marketing talented teams in these areas. If you would like a conversation to understand how we might help you, get in touch with one of our team today.

Accounting and Finance

Accounting and finance have always been a stable sector and in times of uncertainty always moves into a growth phase, as companies navigate the changes in the economy.

As well as dealing with the pandemic, the UK accounting and finance sector is also bracing for Brexit in 2021.

However, as a full leave agreement is yet to be decided, many banks and financial service companies have already made their arrangements to continue to trade with the EU market. As this financial blog points out, trading in the EU market was ‘too inviting to let go’.

In November, the chancellor outlined exciting new plans for the UK financial service sectors, with a focus on financial technology.

Financial technology is going to play a huge part in the future of all businesses, as systems and processes turn digital in the wake of Covid-19.

Do you have financial technology talent in your team that will drive your organisation forwards?

In terms of financial business recovery, despite more tiered restrictions, positive news about a vaccine has shed light on hope for next year. Recent data from the staffing industry shows that positions in Insurance and Finance were up 22% on the previous week for the week starting the 22nd November.

Good news.

Have you found that demand in your finance and accounting departments has increased in the months since the pandemic?

If the answer is yes or you can predict growth for the future, it might be time to start thinking about injecting some fresh finance talent into your team.

How Clayton are Responding

Clayton has been providing expert recruitment services for over 30 years, specialising in the legal sector as well as sales and marketing and accounting and finance.

Because of the huge shifts happening in the jobs market in the UK right now, we have recognised the importance of pivoting to help businesses who need these most in-demand candidates right now.

At Clayton Recruitment, we are repeatedly asked by clients to source the best of these talent pools to place in key roles; for this reason, we are committing to a focus on sales and marketing and finance and accounting. We are doubling down on our efforts to source candidates specifically in these areas.

We’re committing to a laser focus on sales and marketing and accounting and finance, drawing on our previous extensive experience in these sectors and creating a recruitment process to quickly find clients the candidates they need.

So, we can help if you need sales and marketing or finance and accounting candidates with the most in-demand skills.

Get in touch with us today to find out how we can put you in touch with the right candidates to drive growth in your organisation. Call us on 01772 259 121 or contact us here to discuss your recruitment needs.

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 a permanent 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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Your Post-Furlough Team – Where Are the Skills Gaps?

  • October 15, 2020

In any organisation, there will always be a certain number of skills gaps. As the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme comes to and end, it is now that companies realise how vital it is to take stock of their employees, where they want their business to go, and see how the two directly correlate.

You may have had an idea for some time as to who from your pre-Covid team, will be returning to their roles, and also who won’t and therefore it’s time to conduct a skills gap analysis of your post-furlough team. This blog contains a how-to guide. Finding out where the capability gaps are in your organisation are the first step to putting in place a plan to close this gap, and strengthen your team.

So let’s take a look at how to perform a skills gap audit, and what to do if you find any critical gaps in the abilities of your team.

Identifying What Roles Your Organisation Needs

The roles that you had in your organisation pre-Covid might have changed now that your team has returned. Has the size or the nature of your business changed? Are there departments which have grown or decreased due to changes in the market?

During these times, it would be more unusual if your business hadn’t changed, so an audit will likely be in order.

The following is the three-step process of discovering where your skills gaps lie.

Step 1 – Identify the Skills Your Organisation Needs

Identifying skills comes in two parts – finding out which roles are necessary for your organisation, for example, depending on your sector the range might be varied from:

  • the number of packers you need to work in a warehouse to meet demand,
  • or the number of team leaders,
  • or care assistants
  • The number of customer service people,
  • or the number of accountants required in your accountancy firm.

Many organisations are currently trying to cut costs, to deal with the uncertainty that Covid has caused across many sectors. Of course, no employer wants to be overstaffed, but the consequences of being understaffed during this critical time will be more severe. And with the UK economy growing the way it is, from an increase of 11.4% to 15% in the third quarter – planning for growth is a smart idea.

Questions to ask include –

  • Where do we want the organisation to be?
  • In which areas are we planning to expand into?
  • With the current workforce, is our desired level of growth possible?
  • Do we lack knowledge and resources in certain areas?

Once you have identified the number and the nature of the critical roles you need in your organisation, it’s time to find out if your current team have the skills required.

Step 2 – Assess the Current Skills in Your Team

Assessing the skills in your current team will mean individually reviewing your current team’s abilities.

For each role, use the following framework to evaluate team members –

  1. The employee is unaware of this task.
  2. The employee is aware of this task but does not have the skills to perform it.
  3. The employees can undertake the task assisted by someone else.
  4. The employee can perform the task unaided.
  5. The employee possesses the skills to teach others how to perform the task.

This assessment can be performed either by the employee themselves or by their managers or supervisor, and you will get the best results if you work together with your employees to discuss their skills and abilities.

Step 3 – Bridging the Gap

From your analysis, you will quickly see how you might have many employees who are at the same skill level, and a lack of employees who possess the necessary capability to grow in the areas you want.

Where are the expected gaps?

There are skills gaps in many sectors across the globe, with the financial services sector and manufacturing two of the most affected areas.

The skills gap in the financial services sector has been increasing year on year, up 30% in recent years.

In manufacturing, a recent study of organisations found that 81% of employers were finding it difficult to hire employees with the skills they need to expand.

Your Next Steps

Once you have discovered where your skills gaps are, the next logical step is to find the talent you need. When you do this, working with a dedicated recruiter in the commercial sector, you will deliver results faster than internal recruitment alone.

At Clayton Recruitment, we are experts at finding you the talent you need to fill a particular skills gap in your organisation, and many of our clients are finding this service invaluable in the current climate.

We can even provide help if you are unsure where your skills gaps are and would like to talk to an expert about what your organisation might need moving forwards.

You can get in contact with us today by calling 01772 259 121 or send us an email by clicking 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 a permanent 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 Warning Signs Your Accountant is About to Leave

  • November 18, 2019

Your accountant has a central role within your business, so the notion that they might be about to leave can be an alarming one.

But the reality is that accountants rarely stay in the same place for a long time; they are often recruited onto bigger contracts and higher salaries elsewhere – you probably won’t even know if your accountant is planning on leaving.

However, there are some signs that you can look out for.

As a recruiter, I am used to hearing the reasons that top accountants give when leaving their jobs. Starting a family is a primary example – considering leaving for a higher salary in preparation for an addition to your family, and also planning on a reduction of hours to accommodate new parental responsibilities are both reasons candidates regularly give.

Perhaps they have simply been given a better salary and compensation with a firm they have been on the radar of for a while – this article contains the signs to look out for which might indicate your accountant is about to leave.

1. Their Performance Has Dropped

A drop in performance indicates that your accountant is either less engaged with their role, which often leads to the desire for a new role, or worse still, that they are actively looking for a new job and they have mentally checked-out of your business.

Have they started giving less detail in their financial statements, making careless mistakes or missing deadlines which is out of their normal character?

Keeping regular reviews and even informal chats every couple of weeks to discuss your accountant’s projects and how they are generally feeling at work can prevent negative emotions from harbouring, and solutions can be worked out for problems before they become serious.

2. They Have Closed Themselves Off

Any good leader will be able to recognise a change in their employee’s behaviour. An unfavourable change in behaviour might mean a few different things – your accountant might be going through personal issues, they might be finding their current work too stressful, or not challenging enough; or it might mean that they have disengaged from your company.

An informal chat with your accountant who appears to have shut down might reveal that they are struggling – and this is something you can help them with. Likewise, if they tell you that everything is fine, but continue to be secretive with phone calls and checking their phone, or missing work without any good reason – more on this next – it could signal that they are about to leave.

3. They Have Begun an Irregular Working Schedule

A sudden irregular working schedule might mean that your accountant has things going on outside of work – it is not up to your employees to tell you every detail of their personal lives, but a sudden or drastic change to their once steady routine could be a sign of imminent disruption.

Working late to reconcile the accounts and coming in late regularly over consecutive weeks are two different things – the latter might mean that your accountant has been attending interviews elsewhere.

4. They’ve Got a Big Life Change Going On

If you share a great relationship with your accountant, there’s a good chance that they will divulge their personal news with you. You will probably be aware of any significant life changes your employee has going on – a house move, planning a wedding, looking after a family a member, etc.

Sometimes the personal circumstances of an employee mean that they are forced to reassess their career. Your accountant might not necessarily want to hand their notice in, but a significant change in their personal life might make it the only option.

Have they been mentioning starting a family recently, have they been decreasing their hours to take care of an elderly parent? Life comes at us all fast, but being mindful of at what stage your accountant is at in their personal life should mean that you are better equipped to predict their career movements.

Unfortunately, however, sometimes when employees leave there have been warning signs, but their employer has failed to notice them.

5. They Have Demonstrated That They are Less Fulfilled

If only every employer listened to their employees! Many times, when a great employee like your star accountant leaves, they have been exhibiting visible warning signs that their employer has overlooked.

Quite often, candidates who we work with tell us that they are planning on leaving because they have been unhappy in their accountancy role and have tried to offer solutions to the company to no avail. A recent accountancy candidate who I placed in a great new role had been vocal about their previous company updating their recording systems for over a year, and nothing was ever implemented to help her out. In the end, she left to work for a more dynamic company and her old employer was surprised to receive her notice – he simply hadn’t been paying attention to the needs of his staff!

Finally

Actively listening to your key employees can prevent a surprising notice on your desk, but unfortunately, sometimes your accountant will leave for a career move, and there is little that can be done to avoid this.

If you need help in locating talented accountants or building your talent pipeline so that you have a great candidate in mind for the future of your business, get in touch with us to discuss our recruitment solutions.

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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Make 2019 your best year: plan for your challenges now to succeed in the future

  • December 14, 2018

As we head towards the end of the year and get ready to welcome a new one, it’s an ideal opportunity to reflect. That’s why we’ve put together this blog, to help you assess what difficulties the world of business has faced this year, and how to plan so that 2019 gets off to a successful start.

Challenges and opportunities in 2018

Businesses have faced many challenges over the last year, and this has been reflected in the job market. Job stability is always something that worries candidates, and this has been a hot topic of conversation that we’ve had with clients this year. Good retention rates are attractive to the top talent; they want to feel reassured that their skills and contribution will be appreciated and held onto.

However, Brexit has made this challenging, continuing the theme from 2017. Companies across all sectors are having to work harder than even to attract and retain the very best talent. It’s been well publicised that industries that rely on migrants from the EU to complete low-skilled work have been the hardest hit.

It’s not all doom and gloom however. The Edge Foundation has reported that despite the predicted one million vacancies due to a tech skills shortage by 2020, Brexit could give the UK access to new markets and pools of international talent. That’s good news on the horizon for tech companies, a sector that’s ever-more important to our digital society.

What’s happening in the market: plan now, succeed later

As we pointed out above, Brexit is proving tricky for employers and the uncertain climate is something that comes up regularly with our clients. The best way to protect yourself from fluctuations in the market is to plan for all eventualities; in fact, CIPD found that 26% more businesses are focused on developing current staff. Not only does this improve your retention rates, making your business attractive to candidates, it means you’ll have exactly the skills that you need in-house.

Back in January we reported that some of the most in-demand job roles were fork-lift truck drivers, administrators and telesales executives. Naturally, as we have neared the end of the year and Christmas there’s been an increasing focus on temporary positions. This is something that we’ve been continuing to grow, following our client’s needs and demands. We recognise that for many businesses, there’s often the need for extra help without wanting to take on the commitment of a full-time member of staff, so a temporary staff member is a great alternative.

Partnering up with Clayton Recruitment

Whether recruiting for temporary or permanent positions, quality candidates will always make the process of hiring much more efficient and this is exactly what Clayton aims to deliver to our clients. There is a number of ways in which we work to achieve this:

  • Providing you with a dedicated account manager
  • We build trusting, long-lasting client relationships – we always take the time to listen to your needs and challenges. We don’t just want to understand your business, we learn about your culture and values so that the candidates we put forward are the best all-around fit
  • Consistently growing an established database of quality talent

By focusing on your success, we have reinforced our own values of trust, relationships, and growth. These values are what clients appreciate, and we often share the same values as the businesses that we serve, making for a stronger partnership.

We take building positive client relationships seriously, and also strive to build strong relationships with our employees too. So if you’re the kind of company that is committed to building an employer brand that not only attracts but retains talent, then we could be a good match!

In fact, we recently helped a multinational technology business with offices across the UK, who had been struggling to source quality candidates with the relevant skills. They would often receive too many irrelevant CVs, which wasted time sifting through. Training staff internally would take a long time to get to the required skill level; the business was growing and there was pressure to recruit the necessary skills into the company.

By comparing what we knew about the business with our talent pool, we were quickly able to fill the post. The client was delighted and we were thrilled with their glowing review: “I would recommend Clayton Recruitment because the feedback, quality of candidates and speed of response are all critical, all of which Clayton do well.”

Of course, every business measures success differently, although 91% of clients have reported being really pleased with Clayton and the results of working with us.

Talent can be the scarcest resource, which is why our goal is to use our market expertise, insight and networks to ensure that we provide the right people to the right company, so that they become their greatest asset.

Clayton Recruitment’s success stories

It’s great to hear such positive feedback, and plenty more employers agree: in our lifetime, Clayton Recruitment has filled over 2,000 placements. We’ve helped fill vacancies for everything from middle to senior management, mass recruitment to seasonal positions. Each new assignment teaches us something, whether it’s better understanding a client’s business or deepening our industry insight, we strive to improve our service constantly.

Offering our clients a comprehensive and seamless recruitment service is what makes us tick. Thankfully, this passion is paying off because since our MD, Lynn Sedgwick, took charge in 2013 we’ve grown year on year.

Looking ahead to 2019

Of course, it’s important to reflect on the year and to celebrate growth and success – but it’s also exiting to look to the future as well! Each and every win for us means that we’re better able to serve you in future.

And if you are thinking of recruiting, it’s not too late to get things underway and welcome a new-starter in January! We’ll be here until the 24th of December and will be more than happy to help with whatever recruitment challenges you’re facing.

Whether it’s a last-minute temp emergency for the festive season or a full-time employee for your 2019 growth plans, call us on 01772 259 121 and our friendly consultants will be happy to assist you.

In the meantime, you might like to find out more about what a specialist firm can bring to the table in our blog: Big firm, little firm…get the best from your recruitment provider.

You may also like to download our latest report on trends in recruitment: The 7 critical recruitment trends for businesses that will impact your talent pipeline in 2019.

We hope you have a great end to 2018, and we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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