Accounting in Financial Services Salary Survey & Employment Overview 2016
2015 was a busy year for Lincoln Recruitment with good news stories almost right across the Financial Services sector reflecting the overall improvement in the economy. On a cheery note this year has seen the Domestic Pillar Banks all report a return towards profit (with some already back in profit) and a change in attitude from restructuring and cost cutting, to growth and increased commercial activity.
The Insurance and Reinsurance sector has remained stable with what we hope will be the last of the large insurer restructurings coming to an end in the next year. Rates are finally hardening, hopefully indicating a return to growth again.
The International Fund and Asset Management sector has continued the trend of recent years with rapid growth across the country; Aviation Leasing has remained bullish over the last couple of years and spurred on by the recovery and low interest rates, there is a small boom taking place in the Private Equity and Wealth Management space as people are more willing to take risk to get returns.
All in all, this growth has necessarily meant an increase in Finance departments to keep track of the extra business and ensure that robust controls are in place.
In terms of role types, we have had a broad basket of roles to work on – from CFOs, FCs, Finance Managers to Finance Business Partners, FP&A, Management and Financial Accounts. But there were two areas in particular where the demand for candidates far outstripped supply.
The first one is Internal Audit – this demand is being driven by several factors: the organic growth of the Financial Services sector as a whole meaning more work to monitor; strong regulatory oversight demands meaning robust controls have to be in place; the fact that Internal Audit is often a breeding ground for other Finance, Compliance and Risk teams meaning Internal Auditors often move within their business and constantly need to be back-filled and finally; a general reticence for Practice Accountants to move into internal audit due to the misconception that it’s the same as external audit.
The second area of high demand is Financial Reporting within Funds, Asset Management and Investment Management. The drive behind this has been the pure growth within the sector, the demand being such that part qualified accountants with strong financial statement preparation can earn more than their qualified counterparts in other industries.
Outside of these two pockets of intense demand there has been strong demand all year for recently qualified accountants particularly with a Big 4 / Top 10 practice training, with strong candidates making their first move out of practice able to command a €50k base salary and rising.
More broadly, we have seen salary growth across the board with +63% of our survey respondents getting over 5% increases and the remaining 56% achieving higher still (with the lucky top 10% of respondents getting over 25% salary increases this year).
“New roles are created and people change roles, this will cause a ripple effect and doors of opportunity will arise for replacements, helping to promote a healthy spread of ideas around the market.”
As for next year, we expect this trend to continue, though hopefully we will see an increase in the number of accountants qualifying (the Retail Banks are increasing their accountancy training programmes and there has also been an increase in SME practices taking on trainees as well). Which help keep a lid on salary inflation for recently qualified accountants. In terms of sectors, we expect the growth in Funds, Aviation Leasing, Private Equity and Wealth Management to continue with hopefully a resurgence in Domestic Banking and Insurance.
What is certain is that the qualified accounting market within Financial Services is currently close to 100% employment and is a candidate-led market, especially at the recently qualified end.
2016 will bring increased job opportunities and job security combined with an optimistic outlook for the economy, thus giving over half (53%) of Finance professionals the confidence to search for new jobs over the next year according to our research. As new roles are created and people change roles, this will cause a ripple effect and doors of opportunity will arise for replacements, helping to promote a healthy spread of ideas around the market.