2020 was a year none of us would forget, and it posed serious challenges for a wide range of organisations.
While the headlines have focused on the negatives brought about by the pandemic, in the finance and accounting sector, the outlook is not so bleak. The fact remains that a large portion of accountancy roles remain safe – there are opportunities for growth in many areas due to the disruption the pandemic caused.
Today, we look at the U.K.‘s latest figures in the finance and accountancy sector from the Recruitment and Employment Federation, plus data from the Association of Accounting Technicians to bring you our 2021 outlook and forecast for this year.
Let‘s take a look first at some positive economic news.
Economy and Jobs Growth
According to data from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), at the end of 2020, permanent job placements rose in the North while stagnating in other areas in the south such as London.
A clear representation of a change in our attitudes towards work; let me explain.
While we can be sure the pandemic will not last forever, there has been a shift towards people looking to move out of the big cities and work from home, and this is entirely possible for finance and accounting roles, which is one of many reasons they have remained safe.
Additionally, in December 2020, both permanent and temporary remuneration rose for the first time since March; another positive step.
Recruitment companies have reported that candidate supply has risen due to redundancies and worries over current job safety. Of course, there have been some job losses in the worst affected sectors. Still, an influx of candidates is good news for employers looking to hire new talent.
The Chief Executive of the REC, said: “The underlying strength of the British economy shone through in the December jobs figures. The biggest expansion in temporary recruitment since October 2018 shows how important the flexible jobs market is to that performance. Growing permanent placements and starting pay also emphasised the resilience of our economy.
For both employers looking to hire new talent, and for finance and accounting professionals looking for a new role – right now is a buoyant time in our market; 2021 is set to be a year of opportunity and growth.
Opportunities in the Accountancy Sector
Employment growth gives us a clearer picture of general optimism in the economy, welcomed by all after the uncertainty present throughout most of last year.
Yet what about the accounting and finance sector specifically?
New research by the Association of Accounting Technicians found that accountancy is the third most stable profession, behind only careers in health and pharmaceuticals and teaching. Historically, accountancy does well after times of crisis, and the recent pandemic is no exception.
In the coming weeks and months, companies of all sizes, particularly those who have been significantly affected (either positively or negatively) by Covid-19 will need to pick up the pieces. This means extra workloads, which will bring new opportunities for job-seeking finance professionals and an uptake in businesses needing to hire.
Roles in the big four have declined to a degree, and this is thought to be down to the Financial Reporting Council‘s recent ruling that they must split their audit arm by mid-2024, rather than down to the pandemic.
There are also big opportunities for tax experts due to unprecedented government loans that were introduced this year. The government has provided £280 billion in Coronavirus support since March 2020, all of which needs to be accounted for.
Another significant opportunity for the finance sector is the rise in mergers and acquisitions in the wake of Covid-19 – let’s take a closer look.
Merger and Acquisition
Research by Raconteur has found that experts across the legal services, banking, and private equity sectors report a steady increase in mergers and acquisitions. For the businesses who have been irreparably damaged by the pandemic, M&A offers a best-case scenario solution instead of complete insolvency.
For organisations in a position to grow, such as those who have done well throughout the pandemic, now is a critical time to consider acquisition. Food supply chain, medical equipment, garden centres and food retailers have reported profits this year and will be thinking about capitalising on this growth.
Many SMEs are now in the Covid recovery stage, causing them to prioritise cash flow and their P&L statements, leading to job opportunities in this area for accountants looking to change positions.
The Future of Finance Roles
While jobs in the finance sector are largely safe, there are a few key differences which will be taken forwards.
For many accountants, the rise of remote work has been the most significant change. For the most part, job opportunities remain the same; however, there could be a need to up-skill to represent what employers are looking for in middle and senior management positions.
Increased leadership and management skills are going to be in high demand and the ability to flex. If you apply for finance roles this year, think about how you have grown through the pandemic and how the new skills you have learned can be of value to a new employer.
As expert finance recruiters, we can help you find a new finance role this year. We have plenty of opportunities in the North West, click here to talk to us about the future of your finance career, or call us on 01282 930930.
Recruiting Finance Professionals in the Post-Covid Era
For businesses who need to recruit new finance professionals this year, the pandemic has been the perfect opportunity to think about what your company will need in the post-pandemic era.
Are you thinking about hiring new accounting talent? If you are considering your finance team‘s future and would like to speak to an expert about your next move in recruitment and restructuring, we can help – click here to talk to us today.
About Rebus Financial Recruitment
Rebus Financial Recruitment provides a specialist and focused recruitment service to its customers, which historically range from a wide variety of organisations including SME‘s to large PLCs.
We strive to offer both the client and candidate a seamless recruitment experience. Using our expertise, we get to the heart of employer and employee needs; and, in doing so, we match the two perfectly. To find out more, get in contact with one of our team today, or you can call us on 01282 930930.