Financial Services Accounting Market Update Q2 2015

Gavin Hayes / July 6, 2015

Financial Services Accounting Market Update Q2 2015

As we pass the midway point of the year it’s a good time to take stock of what’s been happening in the Financial Services Accounting space. I’m happy to report we’ve been very busy with the Financial Services sector, like the rest of the economy, showing growth almost across the board.  Most bullish have been the Fund Administration and investment management companies, (See Funds & Asset Management Update Q2 2015) but we’ve seen growth across Banking, Private Equity, the lucrative Aircraft Leasing space, Insurance and niche Financial Services sectors such as Invoice Discounting and Payment Acquiring.

In-Demand Roles

In terms of the types of roles; generally speaking we have had a broad basket of titles and areas to recruit for, including CFOs, FCs, Finance Managers, Financial Accountants (junior to senior), FP&A Managers, Finance Business Partners, Management Accountants, Project Accountants, Risk & Solvency II Specialists, Systems and Project Accountants and more.  So regardless of where your experience lies, or where you’d like your career to go, there’s likely activity in the right space if you look at the right time.

However, if I think about areas where demand has far outstripped supply, then two come to mind.

The first being Internal Audit, we have a seen a steady demand for Internal Auditors this year at various levels, but with particular emphasis on junior Internal Auditors.  I think there are three main drivers behind this;

  • Growth in the FS sector overall meaning more work for IA teams to monitor.
  • Internal Audit teams are often a breeding ground for other teams within the business. Many Auditors spend a year or two learning the business and building relationships internally before moving into choice roles elsewhere, often in Finance/Risk / Compliance.
  • The general reticence for Practice Accountants to go into Internal Audit because of the misconception it’s the same as the external audit team they’re looking to leave.

The second area being Financial Reporting Accountants with Funds experience.  As mentioned the Funds sector has been incredibly bullish for the last couple of years.  With Ireland being an international Fund Administration hub we have been feeling the demands of a growing global economy for some time.  I have had multiple Financial Reporting roles open at Senior Associate to Manager/VP level across multiple locations all year, with candidates moving companies and often achieving +20% uplifts in their salaries.  This is starting to slow now for the summer but I fully expect the war for talent to restart come September.


What has this meant for salaries?  Well while we’ve yet to begin pulling together data for our formal salary survey – early anecdotal evidence suggests that we are going to see salary increases across the board of maybe 3%-5%, with some niche skills achieving higher still.

There is still a shortage of recently qualified (0-2 years’ PQE) so salary inflation is highest at this end of the corporate ladder.  This is due to the reduced intake of trainee accountants in the early downturn, while the ‘Big 4’ quickly increased their intake the other big accounting trainee sector, the banks, were much slower to do so.  Indeed a strong ‘Big 4’ trained FS Auditor with strong academics can achieve salaries of over 50k when moving into FS industry (especially Internal Audit).  

So in summary, the first half the year has flown by and it’s time to enjoy the summer.  While doing so why not have a think about your career and if you look back at the year so far, and feel unsatisfied, no longer challenged or undervalued – then then please feel free to get in touch with me for a confidential chat about your options, there’s a lot going on out there, if you don’t have a look, you might miss it. Please feel free to contact me on 01 661 0444 or alternatively you can email me on For an overview of current salaries commanded download and view our Irish Salary Survey 2015.

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