Jobs for accountants set to rise if they evolve into advisory roles
Job opportunities for accountants are set to increase, but only if they adapt and evolve their skillset in response to the growing demand for advisers and analysts, Hays’ latest salary guide shows.
With artificial intelligence and automation impacting the way that accountants add value to an organisation or firm, employers are looking for candidates who can interpret the vast array of data at their disposal, according to the FY 2019/20 Hays Salary Guide.
Hays explained that the ability to improve efficiencies and develop cost savings and performance initiatives also remains highly valued.
“This is leading to falling demand for traditional crunchers and rising demand for analysts and advisers,” said David Cawley, regional director of Hays Accountancy & Finance.
The rise of automation is also fuelling a requirement for professionals with soft skills, especially communication, business acumen and business partnering, Mr Cawley explained.
He sees a rise in demand for management accountants with strong reporting, analytical and business partnering skills and financial accountants who can maintain financial control.
Accountants can expect slight salary increases in their next review, Hays’ guide also revealed.
Based on a survey of more than 3,400 organisations, Hays said 90 per cent of employers will increase their accountancy staff salaries in their next review, up from 87 per cent who did so in their last review.
The value of these increases is set to follow, with almost two-thirds of accountancy practices intending to raise salaries at the lower level of 3 per cent or less.
At the other end of the scale, just 4 per cent of employers, down from 9 per cent, intend to grant pay increases of more than 6 per cent, the data showed.
“Evidently, the aggregate effect of several years of sedate salary increases is taking its toll and we’re now seeing a tug of war over salaries,” said Mr Cawley.
“On the one hand, we have professionals telling us they’ve prioritised a pay rise and are prepared to enter the job market to improve their earnings. On the other, employers tell us they want to add to their headcount and are being impacted by skill shortages, yet they plan to curtail salary increases,” Mr Cawley explained.
Hays Salary Guide shows that senior finance salaries have not increased above CPI. The exceptions are for candidates in the highest level of demand, particularly analysts, management accountants and commercial managers, second time movers from professional practice and systems accountants.
“At the accountancy support level, salaries are increasing in the construction, property, architecture, energy and engineering industries. In all other industries they remain steady. Salaries are also increasing nationally for payroll professionals in response to demand.
“Within professional practice, and despite continuously high demand, firms are not increasing salaries above CPI. With clients looking to keep accounting fees down, firms are unable to offer strong salary increases to their staff. The rare exceptions occur for the highest performers,” Mr Cawley said.
Looking ahead, he revealed that with the automation of transactional work removing routine and repetitive job tasks, demand is being created for more highly-skilled candidates, which should impact salaries in the years to come.